The Government of Zimbabwe has announced plans to increase the area under irrigation, through the Accelerated Irrigation Programme, from 175 000 hectares to 250 000 ha, as part of measures to mitigate the negative impact of climate change on agricultural production and enhance Zimbabwe’s adaptation to global warming.
Mr Tendai Mutasa, a climate change scientist in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry, revealed the plans and said in order to scale up climate change adaptation strategies, the Government has been conducting cloud seeding, upgrading meteorological seismology as weather station networks in the country.
It has also implemented extensive adaptation strategies in low rainfall areas, funded by Green Climate Fund. The country has faced a number of droughts in recent years and this has presented major challenges to the agriculture-reliant livelihoods dotted across the country.
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“Climate change is real and I am sure you are aware that all socio-economic sectors are being affected. Let me quickly enumerate that as part of efforts to address adverse effects of climate change, the Government is conducting Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation Programme to minimise the negative impacts of uneven rainfall. This is to allow production throughout the year, the target is to increase area under irrigation to hectares above 250 000 from the current 175 000,” said Mr Mutasa.
Zimbabwe has experienced extreme temperatures of 0,9 degrees Celsius above the average between 1901 and 2012 while the number of hot days has increased since 1950. According to the World Bank and United Nations Development Programme, the country has also been witnessing a decline in average rainfall by 5 percent since 1915.
Further, the country has seen increased frequency and length of dry spells during the rainy season, and the severity of these changes is projected to grow going forward. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 13 calls on governments across the globe to take urgent action to combat the effects of climate change and its impacts.