MAINSTREAMING CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION IN AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION
CASE STUDY 2
Kirian and his family are typical subsistence farmers living on 4 hectares of unfenced
arable land in a semi-arid area of Gwanda South District. The family has one ox and
two goats which were paid as lobola when the second born child was married. A
paravet is resident in the area. As the community has agreed that the paravet
charges a small fee for any service rendered, Kirian has not been able to access the
service of the paravet. Instead he relies on local herbs for treating his livestock. The
local communities claim that the local herbs sometimes work if the correct dosage is
applied. Grazing is communal and during the dry season livestock roam around even
into other people‟s fields destroying the crop stover reserved for their own livestock.
Kirian and his wife have six children, the eldest being 18 and the youngest 2 years.
They have only managed to send two of their children to school. The eldest is largely
engaged, on a daily basis, in herding goats and cattle for one of their wealthy
neighbours. As he is still staying with his parents, they use his income to buy grain
and pay for the milling costs and other household requirements.
Kirian and wife survive by collecting and selling macimbi (caterpillars) when they are
in-season. The caterpillars have two generations per year i.e. April and November.
They also sell wild fruits such as matamba, tsubvu and matohwe by the road side.
They also depend on small jobs such as weeding and harvesting, especially during
good seasons, to supplement their income.
The family is reliant on a communal borehole which frequently breaks down. Then
Kirian‟s family has to resort to collecting water from sand abstraction (mufuku). They
are unable to grow vegetables because the demand for water to meet basic human
needs is so great. During the rainy season two of their children suffered from water
borne diseases and the wife spent the greater part of the rainy season at the District
Hospital. The family had to borrow transport money from the local Village Health
Worker. The family has accrued a debt at the hospital as they could not afford to pay
the bills. To date they have received two reminders from the hospital to pay their
During difficult years the family spends time attending food aid verification meetings.
Through one of the projects in the area, Kirian‟s family has received two rabbits for
income generation and as a source of protein. However the rabbits have not
increased to any meaningful extent since they regularly sell them to meet their most
A Training Manual on Use of Climate Information and Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment for
Agricultural Extension Staff in Zimbabwe