Traditional Food Crops Provide Community Resilience in Face of Climate Change






By incorporating indigenous vegetables and increasing crop diversity, farmers in Zimbabwe improved their diets and increased agricultural resilience.

A recent study by researchers from Cornell and Rhodes universities and the Sebakwe Black Rhino Conservation Trust found that traditional food crops, such as mubovora (pumpkin) and ipwa (sweet reed), are an important source of community resilience in Zimbabwe—including resilience to climate change and economic turbulence. Unlike traditional crops, the majority of commercial crops that have been introduced to the region “are not adapted to local conditions and require high inputs of agrochemical inputs such as fertilizers, mechanization, and water supply,” according to the study. These crops tend to be more vulnerable to climatic changes, such as the drought and subsequent flooding that occurred in Zimbabwe’s Sebakwe area in 2007.

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