Zimbabwe FANRPAN Policy Brief

Agriculture in Zimbabwean is now predominantly driven by smallholder farmers. 90% of the farming land is in the hands of smallholder farmers practicing mixed crops and livestock production systems. Approximately, 20% of the total area in the country lies in high rainfall regions of between 700-1050 mm/year, where the potential for rain-fed agriculture is high. Rainfall in the bulk of the country (80%) is in the range of 650-<450mm/yr. The bulk of the land falls in areas where there are incidences of drought and dry spells and the potential for rain-fed agriculture is limited (FAO, 2006). The predominance of rain-fed crop production makes the country vulnerable to the adverse effects of rainfall variations and climate change, which, for example, may reduce production of rain-fed crops and contribute to increased food insecurity. There is evidence of the synergies between economic performance, droughts and agricultural growth. Unpredictable climatic variables combined with biological factors (for example, pests and diseases), and market variables undermine crop production. Climate change poses risks for food security, health and nutrition in Zimbabwe due inter alia to threats from post-harvest losses (PHL) and production challenges related to the climate.