Not only can climate shocks push families into poverty, it can also keep them there. The dreaded anticipation of shocks, or risk, discourages investments that could otherwise raise families’ living standards and reduce their vulnerability to poverty. From the Sahel to Central America, small-farm households keep their modest savings in the form of food stocks.
Communities fear what they don’t know. Demystifying climate change through education is what is needed to make sure it’s not scary. While climate change sounds scary, it also provides opportunities for communities to be engaged in green businesses such as biogas, solar, climate-smart agriculture, thereby creating employment.
Zimbabwe has reported a bumper harvest of maize and other grains, capable of feeding the country’s 14.65 million people for the next year.
According to Zimbabwe’s Second Crop and Livestock Assessment report and the US department of agriculture, the estimated maize production for 2021 stands at 2.7 million tonnes. This maize yield is estimated to be triple the 2020 harvest. The agricultural sector is projected to grow 34% this year, more than three times the 11% projected in the budget given at the end of last year.
The International Monetary Fund reports that Zimbabwe is on a path to economic recovery with a growth forecast of 6% this year, largely due to the maize harvest.
Zimbabwe is ranked in the top 20 countries in the world most affected by extreme weather between 2000 and 2019. Some regions in Zimbabwe experienced between three to six bad rainfall seasons between 2014 to 2019 alone. In a country where agriculture is so important, these impacts are acutely felt.
They also come against a background of a drying climate trend in Zimbabwe, observed since the 1980s. The rainy season has shortened by 30 days across much of the country, broken up by longer dry spells which last up to 20 consecutive days.
What’s happening in Zimbabwe holds important lessons for the global community ahead of the COP26 global climate change talks.