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Impact of Climate Variability on Maize (Zea mays L.) Yield and Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies in Hawassa Zuria District, Sidama Region, Ethiopia

Climate variability has been adversely affecting agricultural activities and production in many developing countries including Ethiopia. The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of climate variability on maize yield and assess farmers’ adaptation strategies in Hawassa Zuria district, Sidama Region, Ethiopia. Historical climate data of rainfall and temperature for the period of 1989 to 2019 were obtained from the National Meteorological Agency (NMA) of Ethiopia and long term maize yield data was acquired from agricultural office of the district. Moreover, data on farmers adaptation practice was collected from a total of 290 household heads through survey questionnaire, interviews and focus group discussions. Data quality control, onset date, cessation of the rainy season, length of the growing season, dry spell length and number of rainy days were analyzed. Mann–Kendall trend test and Sen’s slope estimator were used to detect the magnitude and statistical significance of changes in rainfall and temperature. The onset of rainy season and length of growing period were highly variable, while the annual rainfall amount showed a statistically non-significant increasing trend by a factor of 4.34 mm/year in the study area. The annual mean maximum and mean minimum temperature significantly increased by a factor of 0.294°C and 0.64°C per decade, respectively. There was a negative correlation between maize yield and rainfall and temperature features. Climatic factors accounted for approximately 94% of maize yield variation observed in the study area. Coping and adaptation strategies implemented to combat challenges of climate variability. Due to a program run by agricultural extension services from the local government and NGOs, the majority of households adopted crop diversification. During the prolonged dry years, the additional tree planting was primarily for the purpose of providing natural shade for their cattle and crops on the farm. The study concludes that climate variability is apparent and seriously affects maize yield in the study area. Therefore, depending on the finding of the study, the following recommendations are forwarded are: Take special care and attention to the start of the growing season, the end date, and the length of the growing season in the study area; farmers should have access to supplemental irrigation systems from Hawassa Lake or boreholes, especially they live near the lake; and farmers should be warned about the increasing severity of climate variability in the area.

Adaptation, Climate Variability, Dryspell, Hawassa Zuria, Maize

Melese Tadesse Morebo, Mengistu Mengesha Maja, Abebe Aschalew Lakew. (2023). Impact of Climate Variability on Maize (Zea mays L.) Yield and Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies in Hawassa Zuria District, Sidama Region, Ethiopia. American Journal of Environmental Protection, 12(5), 121-137.

Copyright © 2023 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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