Opportunities for optimization of in-field water harvesting to cope with changing climate in semi-arid smallholder farming areas of Zimbabwe
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Climate change has resulted in increas ed vulnerability of smallholder farmers in marginal areas of Zimbab we where there is limit ed capacity to adapt to changing climate. One approach that has been used to adapt to cha nging climate is in-field water harvesting for improved crop yields in the semi- arid regions of Zimbabwe. This review analyses the history of soil and water cons ervation in Zimbabwe, efforts of improv ing water harvesting in the post independence era, farmer driven innovati ons, water harves ting technologi es from other regions , and futu re directions of water harves ting in semi arid marginal areas. From this review it was observed tha t the blanket recommendatio ns that were made on the early conservation method were not suitable for margin al area s as they resulted in increased losses of the much needed water. In the late 1960 and 70s ’, soil and water conserva tion efforts was a victim of the political environment and this resulted in poor uptake. Mos t of the water harvesting innovations which were promoted in the 1990s’ and some farmer dr iven innovations improved crop yield s in marginal areas but were poorly taken up by farmers because they are labour inten sive as the structures should be made annuall y. To address the challenges of labour shortages, the use of perm anent in-field water harves ting technologies are an option. There is also need to ident ify way s for promoting water harves ting techniques that have been proven to work and to explore farmer-l ed knowledge sharing platform s for scaling up proven technologies.