Original Research

Coping with drought: Reflection of communal cattle farmers in Umzingwane district in Zimbabwe

Thabo Ndlovu
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 11, No 1 | a813 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v11i1.813 | © 2019 Thabo Ndlovu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 February 2019 | Published: 15 October 2019

About the author(s)

Thabo Ndlovu, Institute of Development Studies, National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe


The frequency of drought presents huge challenges to rural farming communities in rural Africa. To circumvent negatives of drought, rural Zimbabwean farmers have devised coping strategies some of which are detrimental to the cattle enterprise. Using the sustainable livelihoods framework, this article sought to examine prevalent coping strategies in Umzingwane district in Zimbabwe, some of which lay a foundation for building resilience drought. Qualitative approaches underpinned by descriptive survey design guided data collection processes with structured and non-structured questionnaires administered to unravel drought coping behaviours of rural farmers. The findings reflect that farmers largely rely on moisture-sensitive coping strategies, an indication that rural farmers have not embraced contemporary cattle management practices. The coping strategies reflect a poorly engaged farming community which has been relegated to mere spectators in the industry, despite owning a significant fraction of the national herd. Communal farmers are encouraged to embrace savings clubs, insurance and fodder banks concepts to complement natural grazing and decisively deal with drought by spreading the risks and investing in proactive processes.


capitals; coping; drought; resilience; vulnerability


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