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mainstreaming climate change adaptation in zimbabwe

Smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe face many uncertainties, economically and politically as well as environmentally. They are increasingly being affected by changes in weather patterns. They lack information on climate change and climate variability, making it difficult for them to make informed decisions over the most appropriate agricultural practices.

ASFG member Practical Action and the University of Reading are working with Zimbabwe’s national agricultural extension service (AGRITEX) to build the capacities of extension staff to better understand the impacts of climate change on local agriculture. This will in turn enable them to provide better advice to farmers. The project is funded by the Nuffield Africa Foundation.

Practical Action and the University of Reading will work with AGRITEX to train 60 of their national and provincial level subject matter specialists (SMSs) as trainers of 170 other district level professionals in the 3 provinces of the country through the existing Training Branch in-service programme. Trained extension professionals will, in turn, be able to improve the capabilities of smallholder farmers to respond to climate change.

The project responds to massive brain drain of experienced agricultural extension professionals in the past decade as a result of socio-economic and political challenges experienced in the country. Practical Action and the University of Reading will apply their global experiences in Climate Change Adaptation, research in agriculture and meteorological services in developing countries.

The overall goal is to mainstream climate change adaptation in agricultural extension systems of Zimbabwe so that agricultural extension staff can facilitate smallholder farmers to adapt to, and cope better with climate variability and change.

Staff from Practical Action and University of Reading have conducted the first workshops in Gweru and Harare and both have received positive feedback from participants. The first course is entitled 'Understanding climate change, climate variability and the implications for agriculture'. For more information and further updates please see Practical Action’s project website here.

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