Improving farmers’ risk management strategies for resource-poor and drought-prone farming systems in southern Africa Kit Vaughan and Zondai Shamudzarira
Larry Harrington, Stephen Waddington CIMMYT, AGRITEX and the farmers of Zimuto, Masvingo, Zimbabwe. University of Zimbabwe and CARE International.
Small farms of less than 5 hectares account for about 70 per cent of southern Africa’s maize production. Although new technologies are available for improving production in smallholder maize systems, widespread adoption faces major constraints – particularly the constant threat of drought and declining soil fertility. In Zimbabwe and Malawi, the soils in smallholder areas tend to be sandy, with limited organic matter, low nutrient content and low water-holding capacity. Farmers have only limited access to organic manure and cannot usually afford inorganic fertilizers.