Long-rains crops, short-rains crops, permanent crops and fruit crops: The ‘hidden’ multiple season-cropping system for adaptation to rain variability by smallholder farms

Peer Reviewed
31 December 2020

Byela Tibesigwa, Herbert Ntuli, Razack Lokina, Boscow Okumu, Coretha Komba

To adapt is to survive. However, sub-Saharan Africa, although highly dependent on agriculture, is vulnerable, most affected, with low-adaptive capacity.

Luckily, the region is blessed with inherent adaptation-related strengths that are within reach, to counteract uncertainty in climatic patterns which are expected to continue well into the future. One such strength is a bimodal rainfall pattern that avails the ‘hidden’ multiple season-cropping systems that have the potential to produce four types of crops in a single plot in a single year: short-rains crops, long-rains crops, permanent crops, and fruit crops. Despite the burgeoning literature on adaptation, the impact of multiple season-cropping systems has not been adequately investigated. This study applies a novel approach to measure its impact on the productivity of more than 10,000 smallholder plots using an endogenous switching regression framework. The study finds that plots that adopt multiple season-cropping systems produce higher quantities, earn more crop revenue, and are less likely to be affected by rainfall variability in comparison to plots that engage in single season-cropping systems. As the fight against climate change continues, there is a need to move the needle on adaptation and consider strategies that are within reach. The multiple season-cropping systems provide this opportunity and emphasises the benefit of engaging in agriculture throughout the year and producing long-rains, short rains, permanent and fruit crops.

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Tibesigwa, B., Ntuli, H., Lokina, R., Okumu, B., & Komba, C. (2021). Long-rains crops, short-rains crops, permanent crops and fruit crops: The “hidden” multiple season-cropping system for adaptation to rain variability by smallholder farms. Journal of Environmental Management, 278, 111407. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111407
Publication | 4 December 2020