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짐바브웨 농부들은 기후 변화에 대처하기 위한스마트 설류션에 의지한다.
  • 기사등록 2020-04-22 11:16:53

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay  

Zimbabwe farmers turn to smart solutions to fight climate change


Having suffered poor harvests due to drought, Lupane small-scale farmers find solutions in climate-smart agriculture.

For decades, Linda Ncube, a small-scale farmer in northwestern Zimbabwe, relied on the water that flowed from Tshongokwe dam into dug-out trenches to irrigate her maize crops.

But when some two years ago the dam dried up due to poor rainfall and siltation, the impact on the 56-year-old and the other smallholder farmers at Tshongokwe Irrigation Scheme, a small community farm in Lupane district, was severe.

"The temperatures were so high that our maize crop could not survive," said Ncube, a widowed mother of two who now lives with her three grandchildren. "It is not only us humans that suffered but (even) our livestock as drinking water dried and grazing lands got depleted."

Over the past decade, many smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe have suffered poor harvests due to drought, exacerbating an already dire situation for millions of people in need of food assistance.

With the dam below capacity and climate change increasingly bringing unfavourable farming conditions, the community at Tshongokwe in 2018 realised it needed to find effective solutions to the crisis.

"The drought was not only affecting farmers in the scheme but even our market," Soneni Dube, the chair of Tshongokwe Irrigation Scheme committee, said.

"We looked for assistance from NGOs who provided us with capacity building and financial assistance to resuscitate our farming activities," she added.

'Climate-smart agriculture the answer'

The community decided to join Sizimele-Action for Resilience Building in Zimbabwe, a three-year consortium project aimed at boosting diversified agricultural production for more than 30,000 at-risk households in the districts of Matobo, Insiza and Lupane with assistance from NGOs and international partners, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

At the Tshongokwe Irrigation Scheme, whose 24 hectares of land are shared among 63 farmers, the programme drilled two solar-powered boreholes that store water in two 10,000-litre tanks. Flowing from the tanks, the water goes through underground pipes onto the drip lines to irrigate the farmers' crops.

"We have shifted from the old ways of doing things to the new ways," Dube said. "We have stopped using flood irrigation because it does not only waste water but it washes away plant nutrients such as fertilisers. We are now using drip irrigation which saves water and nutrients critical for crop growth."

Also, the programme installed a weather station that provides early warning and in-weather season forecasts and also records surface and underground temperatures, as well as wind speed.

The station has a manual rain gauge used by the farmers daily at 8am and an automated rain gauge that sends data to the Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe which then issues early warning messages if needed.

"We combine this technology with our local traditional ways of weather monitoring to check if the amount of rainfall is good for us to grow which types of crops and when. It also helps the nation to monitor weather in this area," said Tshongokwe Irrigation Scheme vice chairperson Ozins Ncube.

By February 20, Lupane district had received 226.1 millimetres of rainfall, which is far below the average expected level in a normal farming season running from November to April.

"There has been farming here since 1980 with no problems but now there is climate change. Climate-smart agriculture is the answer [to the farmers' problems)," said Ahunna Eziakonwa, the UNDP's assistant administrator and regional director.

"Drought cannot be prevented but can be predicted - and by predicting it, the impact can be reduced (thereby) reducing humanitarian needs."

'Feed the nation'

Along with weather monitoring and the usage of water-efficient drip irrigation systems, the participants at the Tshongokwe scheme have adapted to the challenging climate conditions by growing drought-tolerant crops that not only grow fast but also have high yields.

"Each farmer here has about 0.4 hectares [of land]. The area covered by the irrigation was divided into small pieces to accommodate everyone. We rotate crops. Last year I grew tomatoes and sold to buyers from Hwange, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls," said Ncube, who currently has Michigan pea beans in her plot.

The farmers also pay a monthly sum into the scheme to cover the drilling of more boreholes until all hectares are covered by drip irrigation.

They have also set up a marketing team to attract customers for their products in nearby areas and have struck deals with big private companies that buy their produce at an agreed off-take price, according to Douglas Sayers, the scheme's secretary-general.

Ncube said the earnings from her produce help her sustain her family and pay her grandchildren’s school fees. Another smallholder farmer, Stella Mudzindiko, 64, said she uses profits to buy vaccines for her cattle, goats and donkeys.

"Our cattle at times suffers from various diseases. So, I use the money from the plot to buy vaccines such as tick grease [a poisonous cream applied on animal skins to kill ticks]. After harvest, we use the remains from the crops as livestock feed," she said.

As for Ncube, she hopes that in the years ahead she will be able to get consistently good harvests to attract even larger private-sector demand.

"I am confident, with more solar-powered boreholes, I will feed the nation," she said.


지난 10년 동안, 짐바브웨의 많은 농민들은 가뭄으로 인해 흉작에 시달려왔고, 식량 지원이 필요한 수백만의 사람들에게 가뜩이나 비참한 상황을 악화시켰다. 댐의 수용력 미달과 기후변화로 농업환경이 악화됨에 따라 2018년 쑹곡웨 지역사회는 위기에 대한 효과적인 해결책을 찾아야 한다는 것을 깨달았다. 답은 바로 기후 스마트 농업이었다.

지역사회는 유엔개발을 포함한 NGO와 국제 파트너들의 지원을 받아 마토보, 인시자, 루판 지역 3만 가구 이상의 다양한 농업 생산을 촉진하기 위한 3년간의 컨소시엄 프로젝트인 짐바브웨의 시즈멜레-Action for Responsible Building에 참여하기로 결정했다

63명의 농부들이 24헥타르의 땅을 공유하고 있는 Tsongokwe 관개 시설에서, 이 프로그램은 2개의 1만 리터짜리 탱크에 물을 저장하는 태양열 보어홀을 뚫었다. 탱크에서 흘러나온 물은 지하 파이프를 통해 드립 라인으로 흘러 농민들의 농작물에 관개한다. 이 스테이션에는 매일 오전 8시에 농민들이 사용하는 수동우량계와 짐바브웨 기상청에 데이터를 전송한 뒤 필요하면 조기경보 메시지를 보내는 자동우량계가 설치돼 있다

쑹곡웨 계획 참가자들은 기상 모니터링과 물 효율이 높은 물방울 관개 시스템의 사용과 함께 가뭄에 견디는 농작물을 재배하여 어려운 기후 조건에 적응했다. 

농부들은 모든 헥타르가 물방울 관개에 의해 덮일 때까지 더 많은 보어홀의 구멍을 뚫는 것을 막기 위해 매달 그 계획에 돈을 지불한다.


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  • 기사등록 2020-04-22 11:16:53
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