Assessing the Impact of Climate Change and Variability on Wetland Maize Production and the Implication on Food Security in the Highlands and Central Plateaus of Rwanda
This paper explores the impact of climate change and variability on wetland maize production in the highlands and central plateaus of Rwanda and its connection to the problem of food insecurity. Data were obtained using different methods and techniques including literature review, analyses of meteorological and maize yield data, field observation, household questionnaire and semistructured interviews. Research findings revealed abnormal changes in temperature with a mean temperature increase of 0.85 ºC in Bahimba wetland located in the northern highlands and 1.1 ºC in Bishenyi wetland located in the central plateau for the past 30 years. The study revealed also changes in rainfall patterns with a decrease of 114.9 mm and 42.3 mm in Bahimba and Bishenyi respectively. Consequently, due to prolonged droughts in Bishenyi, maize yield per ha was reduced by 41% in 2013 and by 51% in 2014. Likewise, in Bahimba, maize yield was reduced by 17% in 2015. This situation led to food insecurity among maize farmers and other communities in the study areas. It is recommended that improved adaptation measures including watersheds management, new drought resistant and early maturing maize seed varieties, community food reserves, savings and credits groups, improved irrigation infrastructures, diversified income sources and improved maize value chain should be taken to ensure increased maize yields and sustainable food security.