How to lead Zimbabwe farmers out of poverty and equip them to face future climate and economic shocks


Photo credit: ICRISAT

Participants at the workshop. Photo: P. Chivenge


Policy makers, researchers and agricultural extension workers came together to learn how to develop future farm scenarios and co-design pathways that will lead Zimbabwe farmers out of poverty and equip them to face future climate and economic shocks. As part of the workshop activity, the group reviewed contrasting pathways that might shape the future of farming in Zimbabwe and came up with Representative Agricultural Pathways and Scenarios (RAPS) (see box).

Need for gender-inclusive policies

The workshop specially focused on gender and nutrition. The impact of national level policies to shape the future of women in farming was among the issues discussed. “Women carry the major burden of farming in Zimbabwe, and there is no sign that this is going to change in the future; it might rather increase as male labor leaves rural areas for wage labor opportunities. Hence, what would it mean if policy evolved to ensure women equal control over resources, production factors and information? What would be the implications for food security and nutrition?” These questions were raised by Dr Amy Sullivan, Bridgewater Consulting, AgMIP stakeholder liaison.

Leveraging uptake of climate-adaptation technologies

The importance of sharing information on technologies was also stressed in one of the sessions. “Informing crop improvement programs is critical, especially for supporting the highly vulnerable smallholder farmers in marginal areas to adapt to climate variability and change,” said
Dr Dumisani Kutywayo, Director Crops Research Division, Department of Research and Specialists Services.

Mr Ben Mache, Head of Crops Agricultural Technical and Extension Services said that such dialogues help to create conditions and mechanisms that can leverage uptake of technologies and cater to shock situations, in preparation for agriculture under future climate scenarios.

In this context, the importance of web-based tools was stressed. Special mention was made of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) tool ‘Impacts Explorer’ to make information available to a broad range of users, and for revision and adjustment processes (

The science behind RAPS

Read the full article: ICRISAT

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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