This paper aims to document indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) used for short- and long-range rainfall prediction by small holder farmers in three communities of Guruve District, in north-eastern Zimbabwe. The study also investigated farmers’ perceptions of contemporary forecasts and the reliability of both IKS and contemporary forecasts.
Data were collected among small holder farmers in Guruve District using household interviews and focus group discussions in three wards in the district, grouped according to their agro-climate into high and low rainfall areas. To get an expert view of the issues, key informant interviews were held with key agricultural extension personnel and traditional leaders.
Results obtained showed show high dependence on IKS-based forecasts in the district. Over 80 per cent of the farmers used at least one form of IKS for short- and long-range forecasting, as they are easily understood and applicable to their local situations. Tree phenology, migration and behaviour of some bird species and insects, and observation of atmospheric phenomena were the common indicators used. Tree phenology was the most common with over 80 per cent of farmers using this indicator. While some respondents (60 per cent) viewed forecasts derived from IKS as more reliable than science-based forecasts, 69 per cent preferred an integration of the two methods.
The simplicity and location specificity of IKS-based forecasts makes them potentially useful to smallholder farmers, climate scientists and policymakers in tracking change in these areas for more effective climate change response strategies and policymaking.
Gwenzi, J., Mashonjowa, E., Mafongoya, P., Rwasoka, D. and Stigter, K. (2016), "The use of indigenous knowledge systems for short and long range rainfall prediction and farmers’ perceptions of science-based seasonal forecasts in Zimbabwe", International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 440-462. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCCSM-03-2015-0032Download as .RIS
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