International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Food Security in Zimbabwe: A Socio-Economic and Political Analysis
Charity Manyeruke, Shakespear Hamauswa, Lawrence Mhandara

The paper examines the widespread effects of climate change and variability on food security in Zimbabwe. Climate change has posed a serious threat on food security in developing countries in Africa. This has led developing countries to heavily rely on foreign aid in the form of food hand-outs to avert hunger. The shift in climatic conditions over the sub-Saharan region towards semi-arid to arid conditions has stemmed up a lot of concern as to whether Africa can feed itself. The past three decades have been characterized by an erratic rainfall pattern over Africa’s sub-tropics and a significant decline in the amount of rainfall. This has resulted in droughts which have significantly affected agriculture and food production. Crops and livestock have failed to quickly adapt to these harsh climatic conditions. Research on the impacts of climate change in Zimbabwe shows that the country’s agricultural sector is already suffering from changing rainfall patterns, temperature increases and more extreme weather events, like floods and droughts. Longer and more frequent droughts have substantially reduced crop yields and this has negatively impacted food production in the country. A shift in the country’s agro-ecological regions has been observed and this shift has been attributed to climate change. The paper analyses the various drought mitigation measures that the government of Zimbabwe has put in place to avert the effects of climate change. It has become apparently clear that the only way Zimbabwe will be able to out-run the effects of climate change on food security would be to scale up production in the agricultural sector by setting up schemes to assist farmers so that they attain the maximum crop yields. These measures are analyzed, looking at their strengths and shortfalls. The paper takes an interesting turn as it analyses the social impact of climate change and its ability to influence changes in Zimbabwe’s political landscape. The shortage of food and depletion of water resources has a greater chance of triggering the escalation of conflict which may influence shifts in the country’s balance of power.

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