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Climate change, variability and sustainable agriculture in Zimbabwe’s rural communities

This paper explores the impact of climate change and variability on agricultural productivity in the communal area of Bikita, Zimbabwe, and examines the adaptation and mitigation strategies of communal farmers. It determines that the adverse impacts of climate change are felt heavily by the poor communal farmers who are directly dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. Reported signs of climate variability in Bikita included late and unpredictable rains, high temperatures (heat waves), successive drought, shortening rainfall seasons and seasonal changes in the timing of rainfall. The paper argues that climate change has compounded the vulnerability of peasant farmers in the drought-prone district of Bikita, increasing food insecurity and poverty. However, the findings of the study reveal that communal farmers have not been passive victims, but they have responded to climate variability through various adaptation and mitigation strategies both individually and collectively.