Assessing Perceptions of Climate Variability and Change among Farmers in Kyela District: A Quantqualitative Approach
The study assed the relationship between perceived and objective climate variability and change in Kyela district, Mbeya Region, Tanzania. The study had two main objectives: one was to assess whether there have occurred any significant shifts in rainfall pattern over the past 47 years. Two was to determine the relationship between perceived climate and objective climate by comparing the physical data with the subjective recall and memory of change in climate from respondents. Data was collected using interviews, focus- group discussions, documentary review and analysis of instrumental records of rainfall. Although there are some degrees of similarities there is a big difference between perceived and objective climate in the study area. While respondents perceive a recent change in rainfall pattern, instrumental records on the other hand clearly show that variability in rainfall has been there throughout the study period. The study concludes that the differences between these sources of information are a result of people recalling on most recent events than the past. Also that rainfall data presented in this study represent a broad picture for the whole district while practically there can be differences between villages even if they are just 10 miles away from each other. Hence a further study to cover similar area coverage for both data sets would be important to address the discrepancy of the findings revealed in this study.
Key Words: Seasonality, rainfall pattern fluctuations, subsistence farmers, Kyela, Tanzania