Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences

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Mubvuma

Greener Journal of  Agricultural Sciences Vol. 3 (12), pp. 809-816, December 2013.

 ISSN: 2276-7770 

Research Paper

Manuscript Number: 100713891

 

Climate Change: Matching Growing Season Length with Maize Crop Varietal Life Cycles in Semi-Arid Regions of Zimbabwe

 

M. T. Mubvuma

 

Department of Soil and Plant Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Life sciences, Great Zimbabwe University.

P.O. Box 1235, Masvingo, Zimbabwe.

 

Email: mubvumamagm @ yahoo.co.uk, Tel: +263-039 252281


Abstract:

Climate change is set to increase the risk and uncertainty of maize production in the semi-arid Regions of Zimbabwe. The study had the objective to determine the existence of climate change in Masvingo District using the long term behaviour of the growing season length and its parameters over a period of 31 years (1970-2001), and to match the life cycle period of locally available maize, sorghum and pearl millet varieties with growing season length. The onset of the rain season was found to be an important indicator of growing season length and was observed to have changed from late October to late November. The growing season length for the District was noted to have changed significantly (P < 0.01) from 120 days during the early 70s to 100 days in the year 2001. With the seasonal length now averaging at 100 days, the results show that the current climate is no longer suitable for growing maize when considering the average life cycle of maize in terms of days from planting to harvesting, but is now marginally suitable for Sorghum and Pearl Millet production. Farmers in Masvingo Province are advised to stop growing rain fed maize for livelihood but focus on growing sorghum and pearl millet crops.
 
Keywords: Climate Change, Growing season length, Onset of rains, Maize, Sorghum and Pearl millet.

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