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Outline of Presentation

Introduction Statement of Problem Objectives Literature Review Methods and material

Chapter One

Cereal production is a major component of small-

scale farming in Southern Africa. Sorghum is one of the major staple food in Malawi, contributing 60 % of calories to the diet in Shire Valley (http://www.fao.org/wairdocs/x5001e/X5001e02.ht m) Decreasing trend in sorghum and others cereal yields due to droughts, floods and prolonged dry spell.

Comparison of rainfall onset and crop performance in 2011/2012 season

Pictures taken by Vanya, 28.12.2011

Delayed onset

Dry spells

Normal rains

Wilting Maize, in the peripheral of Shire Valley and Shire Highlands

Maize flourishing in good rains, Shire highlands, outskate of Blantyre .


Agricultural activities have become a focus of

modeling the impact of climate change on poverty and people livelihoods As farmers battle climate change and variability, poverty is another major threat to food security. Frequent and intense extreme weather events has disrupted the country both socially and economically, since 1970, six major droughts occurred (i.e., 1978/79, 1981/82, 1991/1992, 1994/95 2001/2002 and 2004/2005) Extreme exposure and limited adaptation capacity of the rural farmers is a major threat to food security.

1.2 Statement of the problem and

Research question
Statement of the problem Little has been done on the use of crop models (eg. APSIM) to assess influence of climate change on sorghum yield. Little is known on the impact of climate change on sorghum yield in Shire Valley using Climate A1B and B2 scenarios.

Research question What impact will climate change have on future sorghum yield in the lower Shire Valley of Malawi?

Main Objective: The main objective of this research is to assess the impact of climate change on sorghum yield under rainfed condition. SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES To assess the effects of long term climate variability and climate change on sorghum yield under present and future scenarios in the Lower Shire Valley. Evaluate the capability of APSIM-sorghum model to simulate growth, development and yield of sorghum. Quantify the impact of climate change on sorghum yield

1.4 Justification
Agriculture remains the only major source of

income in terms of employment and foreign exchange in Malawi (FAO, 2007; Deloitte, 2011). Climate variability has been significantly destructive and disruptive to crops growing communities(ActionAid, 2008) threatening food security in the areas (World Bank, 2010; NSO 2008). Most studies were on other crops such as maize, rice and cotton, on cultivars, pests and diseases and very little on sorghum in relation to climate .

1.4 Justification
APSIM has been tested extensively used sorghum,

maize and wheat growth and yield, soil water balance and summer soil water dynamics in the Western Africa, China, India and Australia wheat belt (Asseng et al. 1998; Dolling et al. 2006) and found robust Proposed research addresses one of the core challenges as identified by the Governments Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) 20062011 aimed at making Malawi a hunger free nation


UNDP, 2010, MDGS 2006-11, NAPA, 2006 noted that

climate change is a socio-economic and environmental issue that threatens the achievement of Millennium Development Goals aimed at poverty and hunger reduction, health improvement and environmental sustainability. Semenov, 2009, Solomon et al. 2007 observed that various studies have predicted an increase in frequency and magnitude of extreme weather under climate change. Barnett et al. 2006 also observed that most global climate models (GCM) simulate increased summer dryness and winter wetness over most parts of the global and sub Sahara Africa.


Over southern Africa an increased chance of intense rains due to the greater water-holding capacity of a warmer atmosphere, and would result into flooding was noted.
Prediction by IPCC shows that by 2100 a global average surface temperature increase may be

between 1.8 and 4.0 C while with a global average temperature increases of only 1.5 2.5C degrees, there is high extinction risk of animal and plant species by approximately 20-30% (FAO, 2007).


The 2002 Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment

Report indicated that Malawi is experiencing a range of climatic hazards, which include extreme rainfall, floods, seasonal and multi-year droughts, dry and cold spells, strong winds, thunderstorms, landslides, hailstorms, earthquake and mudslides, heat waves, and many others.

J.C.R Hunt, et al., 2010 found out that resolutions of

regional climate models (RCM) are finer compared to coarse GCMs such that they can resolve climatic changes over spatial order of 10 km so that impacts of climate change on agricultural fields can be studied only qualitatively at this time,


Study site and Climate Shire Valley composed of Chikwawa and Nsanje Districts, located in southern Malawi (32 180 m). A major cereal producing area, semi-arid climate . It lies between 34.27 to 35.32E and 15.84S to 17.14S and span across two districts from Kapachira falls (Chikwawa) to Nsanje at the bottom of the country where the valley is its unique feature


3.0 Study site and Climate /..

The area has two seasons: Wet and dry ,where wet season start from November to April Dry period is divided into two.

Hot period between September till rain starts Cool period from May to August Temperatures in the Valley, are hot, with maxima of around 36 C and minima of 20 C. Main rain bearing systems apart from, Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), Congo(Zaire) Air mass, Tropical Cyclones and Easterly waves also contribute to rainfall in the area.

3.2 Data Source and Crop Model

APSIM Parameterisation and Evaluation
Two sites will be used with a single summer season

Two levels of fertilizers(0, 50 kg ha-1) and three levels of P (0, 25 kg ha

1) Climate scenarios: Rainfall, 16% increase, 16%+CO2, Temperatures: and Carbon dioxide: 250 ppm, 625 and 750ppm Two sorghum Varieties to be used Thengalamanga (Local variety, a late maturing), Pirira (early maturing) from (SVADD) Management system employed: Sowing dates range: 15 November- 10 January Planting density: 30plants/ Space between rows: 1m Planting depth: 30mm Soil type: Makande ( black vertosols- clay loam soils)

3.3 Methodology
3.4.1 Estimation of Missing Data and Data Homogeneity. Arithmetic mean method, the simplest and most objective method of estimating missing data will be use. It involves replacing the missing data with the average or the mean for a given station. Cumulative annual totals of rainfall, temperatures and sorghum yield data will be plotted against their corresponding years for all the stations considered in the study. 3.4.3 Time Series Analysis and Correlation Analysis. Time series analysis will be used to study the variability of rainfall, temperatures and sorghum yield characteristics in the study area during the period under consideration by detecting trends within seasons.

3.4 Output verification methods

The performance of APSIM will be statistically evaluated based

on the observed yield records for 1994-2010 and simulated yield using root mean square error (RMSE) and Bias, the index of agreement, d in equations 1 and 2 (Willmott et al 1985; Loague and Green, 1991). They will be used as indicators for establishing the accuracy of climate model outputs. (1)
The index of argument of the observed and simulated models (0),

(2) where Si and Oi are the simulated and the observed yields, n the number of observations, and the mean of the simulated and observed yields respectively. For a good simulation, it is expected to have values of RMSE and d as close as possible to 0 and 1 respectively. High values of d close to 1 indicate good model performance and better relation of observed verses simulated.


It is expected that this research will result in the following outcomes; projected changes in sorghum yield under different climate scenarios. Identification of areas where sorghum production may be particularly vulnerable to climate change Identification of climate scenario or, and management technique that will likely optimize or reduce crop yield in in future. Dissemination of the above information by published papers in both local and academic journals.



Nov- January 2011

Jan-Feb 2012


March-APRIL 2012
May 2012 JUNE 2012



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