MWENEZI – Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) has released its research results on the effects of climate change on livelihood systems dependent on Mwenezi and Runde rivers in Mwenezi.
The preliminary results were discussed during Climate Research for Development (CR4D) feedback and validation workshop held with stakeholders this month.
The team of researchers from CUT is led by Prof Never Muboko and Dr Laiza Kupika.
The results showed that some traditional medicines, natural resources, fruits and livestock were now severely affected by low rainfall, cutting down of trees, veld fires and floods. The researchers urged people to adapt and start planting trees suitable to the region, plant small grains, keep small livestock and avoid stream bank cultivation.
They urged Mwenezi which is a cattle ranching area to stop concentrating on cattle alone but to rear small animals like rabbits, goats, sheep and roadrunners.
The research found out that climate change threatened people’s livelihoods by disturbing forage resources. Forage is destroyed by winds, floods and thunderstorm leading to drought induced human diseases.
The research was participatory and some key participants were traditional leaders and Agritex officers.
“Participants in the research bemoaned the now low fruit production, droughts that kill livestock, hunger due to change in seasons. We recommend that people implement new strategies like planting small grains, use of solar powered irrigations/drip irrigations, focus on keeping small livestock like rabbits, goats, sheep and roadrunners rather than give attention to cattle only,’’ said Kupika.
The researchers also urged the Civil Protection Unit Department to work with climate change departments and know about their areas in order to plan before disasters.
The research noted that Mwenezi has plenty of water bodies like Manyuchi and Musaverima dams and urged villagers to focus on water harvesting skills.
There were also some invasive species caused by climate change and these disturb the natural resources and ecosystem. Mwenezi community must therefore have some catchment protection strategies in order to protect the environment at riparian areas, said the researchers.
Trust Magaisa said there was need to focus on planting trees which suit the region especially on national tree planting days.
“In Mwenezi mopane trees are under threat from people who overharvest mopane worms. When fishing, the villagers use nets taking everything, and when they harvest mopane worms they also collect everything. Mopane have also been destroyed by people cutting down the trees to make charcoal. Rampant use of chemicals is killing insects thereby disturbing the ecosystem,’’ said Magaisa.
Chief Chitanga thanked everyone who made the research a success. He said that the community has a sense of ownership of the project because CUT physically included stakeholders.
He urged villagers to take up the recommendations made by the research.