Original Research

Maize producers’ vulnerability to climate change: Evidence from Makhuduthamaga Local Municipality, South Africa

Selelo Matimolane, Hector Chikoore, Fhumulani I. Mathivha, Edmore Kori
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 14, No 1 | a1165 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v14i1.1165 | © 2022 Selelo Matimolane, Hector Chikoore, Fhumulani I. Mathivha, Edmore Kori | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 May 2021 | Published: 07 December 2022

About the author(s)

Selelo Matimolane, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; and, Department of Geography and Geo-Information Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa
Hector Chikoore, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, South Africa
Fhumulani I. Mathivha, Department of Hydrology, University of Zululand, Kwadlangezwa, South Africa
Edmore Kori, Department of Geography and Geo-Information Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa

Abstract

Climate change is predicted to impact agricultural production and affect food security in poor communities of developing countries due to the likely negative impacts on rainfall characteristics. South Africa is one of the largest producers of maize crops in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The majority of crop production is rainfed with precipitation received during the summer growing season. This study evaluated the impact of climate change on maize yields using trend and multiple regression analysis in northern South Africa. Exposure and vulnerability of maize farmers to the impacts of climate change were also evaluated. Rainfall characteristics showed variability of 20.35% with rain days standard deviation of 10.25 days and coefficient of variation of 18.57%. The results revealed a weak relationship between annual rainfall and rainy days, and annual rainfall and maize yields, both showed an r² and p-values of less than 0.5 and 0.005, respectively. The study found that variations in rainfall did not significantly influence variation in maize yields. Despite a clear fluctuation in yields, the results demonstrate a rising trend that can be attributed to agricultural practices such as the use of fertilisers and planting drought resistant cultivars as opposed to climate variables. The study further found that maize producers were proactively adapting to climate change, thus, reducing their vulnerability to its impacts.

Keywords

adaptation; climate change; maize yields; rain days; rainfall; temperature; trends; vulnerability

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Crossref Citations

1. Vulnerability and adaptation of maize smallholder farmers to climate change: a Sub-Saharan African context
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