Climate smart agriculture: a winning strategy for farming families in El Niño seasons

Approaching the homestead of Joseph Maravire and his wife, Reason, on a warm late August afternoon in Bvukururu, Zaka district, Zimbabwe, heaps of dry straw in their farmyard are prominent. ‘’This is for mulching for the forthcoming cropping season,’’ explains Reason. Maize stalk residues from last harvest are also stored to feed their livestock and to mix into the manure or for bedding the herd of cattle. These practices have become the norm for the Maravire family as they prepare for the next maize planting season in Zaka, one of the hottest areas of southern Zimbabwe.

“We never knew of mulching until we interacted with CIMMYT scientists in 2009. Now I cannot imagine working in my field without applying mulch,” says Reason. As one of five families selected in their village to participate in the scaling out of climate smart agricultural technologies since 2009, the Maravire family demonstrates the evident transformative power of climate-smart agriculture.