International Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 4 Issue 5 2014- March 2014    Pages: 1077-1086  <<Previous    Next>>

Implication of rainfall variability on maize production in Morogoro, Tanzania

Author Information:

Alfred O. Magehema1, Ladislaus B. Chang'a2 and Stelyus L. Mkoma1*
1 - Department of Physical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3038, Chuo Kikuu, Morogoro, Tanzania
2 - Tanzania Meteorological Agency, P.O. Box 3056, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


Despite the importance of maize as the main staple crop in Tanzania, it is currently hampered by a wide range of constraints, such as; enormously variability in rainfall. The climate variability has consequence on the production of crops as seasonal rainfall and temperature trends are responsible for the shifting of the seasons. This study aimed at assessing seasonal rainfall variability and its impacts to maize production in Morogoro region in Tanzania. Daily rainfall data for the period of 2005-2010 from Ilonga Agromet, Kilosa Agric, Mahenge, Morogoro, Mtibwa sugar Estate meteorological stations and monthly rainfall data for the period 1980-2010 from Kilosa Agric, Mahenge and Morogoro meteorological stations were obtained from Tanzania meteorological agency (TMA). The crop production data for the period 2007-2010 were obtained from regional agricultural and livestock development office in Kilosa, Morogoro, Mvomero and Ulanga districts. The results show that, there was seasonal rainfall variability in Morogoro region as the highest total annual rainfalls were 1545.3mm, 2796.1mm and 1182.1 in 1997, 1989 and 2006 and the lowest were 447.2mm, 260.2mm, and 994.1mm in 2005 and 2009, 2010 for Morogoro, Kilosa Agric, and Mahenge meteorological stations, respectively. The maximum monthly rainfall during growing seasons was 495.1mm in March, 2009 at Mahenge meteorological station and the minimum was 2.4mm in January, 2010 at Kilosa Agromet station. The rainfall variability had influence on maize production;, this might be associated with total amount of rainfall to be above normal leading to water logging and/or below average in same areas. Change in the seasonal precipitation patterns may affect the total maize production despite of the high total annual rainfall. This study concluded that, there is seasonal rainfall variability in Morogoro region that influence maize production. However, soil type, moisture temperature might be other factor which influence the maize production. Higher temperature may reduce maize yields by encouraging weed and pests proliferation. The study recommend use of irrigation schemes rather than depending sorely on rain fed agriculture as rainfall patterns in the Morogoro region change between years.

Keywords: Seasonal variability, Rainfall trend, Maize production, Tanzania.


© 2014 Copyright by the authors, licensee Integrated Publishing Association.This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (3.0) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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