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Bright Chisadza, Michael J. Tumbare, Washington R. Nyabeze and Innocent Nhapi
This research paper is informed by a study to assess performance of local knowledge drought forecasts (LKDFs) in the Mzingwane catchment which is located in the Limpopo…
This research paper is informed by a study to assess performance of local knowledge drought forecasts (LKDFs) in the Mzingwane catchment which is located in the Limpopo River Basin in Zimbabwe. The purpose of this paper is to validate local traditional knowledge (LTK) indicators being applied in Mzingwane catchment and verify their accuracy and reliability in drought forecasting and early warning.
LTK forecast data for 2012/2013 season were collected through structured questionnaires administered to 40 selected household heads and focus group discussions. Observations and key informant interviews with chiefs and the elderly (>55 years) were also used to collect additional LTK forecast data. Meteorological data on seasonal rainfall were collected from the meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe (MSD). Two sets of comparisons were conducted namely the hind-cast comparison where the LKDF system results were evaluated against what the season turned out to be and forecast comparison where local LKDF system results were compared with downscaled meteorological forecasts.
The results showed that the majority of the LTK indicators used were accurate in forecasting weather and drought conditions when compared to the observed data of what the season turned out to be. LTK forecasts were found to be more accurate than meteorological forecast at local scale. This study has shown that the reliability of LTKs is high as demonstrated by the fact that the predicted event occurs.
Further validation be carried out for a number of seasons, in order to standardise the LTK indicators per geographical area.
The research creates platform for adoption of LTKs into formal forecasting systems. The research is useful to both meteorological researchers and resource constrained communities in Mzingwane catchment.
Bright Chisadza, Mike J. Tumbare, Innocent Nhapi and Washington R. Nyabeze
The purpose of this paper is to identify, analyse and document local traditional indicators used in drought forecasting in the Mzingwane Catchment and to assess the…
The purpose of this paper is to identify, analyse and document local traditional indicators used in drought forecasting in the Mzingwane Catchment and to assess the possibility of integrating traditional rainfall forecasting, using the local traditional indicators, with meteorological forecasting methods.
Self-administered structured questionnaires were conducted on 101 respondents in four districts of the Mzingwane Catchment area, namely, Beitbridge, Mangwe, Esighodini and Mwenezi from February to August 2012. In addition, key informant interviews and focus group discussions were also used in data collection and the collected data were analysed for drought history and demographics; drought adaptation and the use of drought forecasting methods in the catchment using Statistical Package for Social Science.
The paper reveals the growing importance of precipitation forecasts among Mzingwane communities, particularly the amount, timing, duration and distribution of rainfall. Rainfall was cited as the major cause of drought by 98 per cent of the respondents in the catchment. Whilst meteorological rainfall forecasts are available through various channels, they are not readily accessible to rural communities. Furthermore, they are not very reliable at local level. The paper shows that communities in the Mzingwane Catchment still regard local traditional knowledge forecasting as their primary source of weather forecasts. The paper finds that plant phenology is widely used by the local communities in the four districts for drought forecasting. Early and significant flowering of Mopane trees (Colophospermum mopane) from September to December has been identified to be one of the signals of poor rainfall season in respect to quantity and distribution and subsequent drought. Late and less significant flowering of Umtopi trees (Boscia albitrunca) from September to December also signals a poor rainfall season.
The paper fulfils an identified need to study and document useful traditional drought indicators. Furthermore, the paper provides a platform for possible integration of traditional drought forecasting and meteorological forecasting and ensure sustainable rural livelihood development. The paper is useful to both meteorological researchers and resource-constrained communities in Mzingwane Catchment.