Climate Change Effects on Food Security in Rwanda: Case Study of Wetland Rice Production in Bugesera District.
The analysis of rainfall on past trends shows that, since 1992, Bugesera district has been characterized by a declining trend with a remarkable variability in rainfall frequencies and intensity which resulted into serious floods in 1997-1998 and a prolonged drought in 1999-2000. This study has been conducted to reveal the effects of climate change on rice productivity in Bugesera District. Rainfall and temperature patterns have been evaluated using the closest meteorological station (Kanombe Airport) that represents the study area. According to the results, the rise in temperature and changes in the amount of rainfall and its distribution have altered the availability of water resources, consequently affecting the productivity of rice. The variability in the onset of the rainy season has led to variation in the start of the planting season which has negatively affected the production of rice. Assessment of people’s perceptions on ongoing change on rainfall and temperature patterns, and their adaptation strategies has been made. The respondents accept that there is a change happening in their area and have already started to feel its impacts. The study revealed that yields of rice have been distorted by changes in precipitation, temperature, as well as soil moisture. Flooding in lower zones of altitude along river Akanyaru have been reported for many times in the study area as causing the submergence of rice fields thereby damaging the growth and reducing the productivity of rice. In adaptation to climatic change effects, farmers have started to take on some adaptation measures. These measures include constructing water reservoir to collect water for irrigation use in the dry season, switching to new varieties of rice that resist to drought and flooding, and application of pesticides to combat with pests.
Key words: Climate change, climate change effects, wetland management, rice production, food security, local community, Bugesera district