The perception of CC experience from the interviewed households was related to findings from FGD and in-depth interviews with the village leader, experienced farmers, local NGOs and district agriculture experts. The findings revealed that there is CC whereby rainfall has been reported to decrease or fluctuate as witnessed an increase in temperatures for the past 20 years (Table 4.4). In general, farmers trust that the rising temperature trend was related to rainfall changes. Perception of the state of rainfall was first explained by key informants and the FGD members in at village level as described in Box 4.1, Box 4.2 and Box 4.3.
Box 4.1: Perceived changes in rainfall onset in addition to CC by farmers and experts
Additionally, it was also known that in the past, local communities had their own ways of predicting rainfall. Such measures were very useful, though in recent years, they are no longer helpful.
Box 4.2: Rainfall prediction methods by household heads who attended FGD in Mkulula
Regarding the state of temperature, various views and perceptions articulated that temperatures have been increasing and cooling for the past 20 years as quoted in the box below:
Box 4.3: Temperature changes by experienced farmers in the study area
4.4.4 Reasons for Changes of the Perceived Climate
Respondents were asked how they understood reasons for changes of local climate based on their knowledge and their experience. Both respondent household farmers, invited farmers for FGD, experienced key informants and agricultural experts had different opinions on perceived changes of local climate. The most notable factor in the changes of local climate was environmental dilapidation at local level contributed by deforestation mainly, for agriculture/deforestation (70%), timber (2%), rapid population growth (16%), bushfires (10%) and remaining (2%) were unfamiliar with causes of changes (Figure 4.9).
Figure 4.9: Farmers’ perception on causes of climate change in the study area
Source: Field Survey (2018)
Different quotes were taken during FGD and expert interviews on factors for the CC.
Box 4.4: CC experienced by government experts in Iringa District, FGDs and farmers
4.4.5 Rainfall trend for Nduli Meteorological Station
To triangulate rainfall data from farmers’ perceptions, historical annual rainfall ranging from 1987 to 2017 was taken from Nduli Meteorological Station (NMS). However, the triangulation proved unmatched with responses from majority of households. There was a slight increase in annual rainfall at the rate of 3.02 mm (Figure 4.10) as supported by few respondents, 8.5 percent from Mkungugu and 2.5 percent from Mkulula (Table 4.4). This contrasted with majority of household heads’ perception of decreasing in rainfall amounts. This indicates that in some cases, the human perception may lose precision in comparison to recorded meteorological data. The reported increase in precipitation may be related to intense precipitation patterns, which occurred in 1997, 1998 and 2006 whereby most parts of the study area received high rainfall (Pauline and Grab, 2018; Kangalawe et. al., 2017). .
Figure 4.10: Historical annual rainfall trends from Nduli Meteorological Station (1987-2017)
Source: Nduli Meteorological Station (2018)
Figure 4.10 reveals rainfall fluctuations in the study area. Some years such as 1998, 2004 and 2006 had increased rainfall, while in 2001 and 2007, rainfall declined. Such secondary data are similar with results from interviews whereby it was disclosed that in even years, they normally receive heavy rainfall compared to odd years. In odd years they always received little rains with prolonged dry spells. For instance, in 1998 and 2006, respondents reported that they received heavy and erratic rains that destroyed their houses as well as crops, while in 2001, rainfall was very little with prolonged dry spells such that they were provided food relief because most of their crops dried before maturing.
4.4.6 Temperature trend for Nduli Meteorological Station.
Historical temperature data (from 1987 to 2017) were collected so as to confirm farmers’ perceptions on the state of temperatures in the past twenty years. Results revealed an increase in mean maximum temperature trend at the rate of 0.020C per year (Figure 4.11). Even though there is an increase in temperature there are some variations in terms of years with regard to the increase and decrease in temperatures. The most notable years with maximum temperatures were 1988, 1993, 1995 and 2010, while between 1990 and 1999 had minimum temperatures. The increasing trend and excessive temperatures have direct impact on farming practices in the area. For instance, in 1999, households reported to receive extreme temperatures with prolonged drought that affected their crops. Figure 4.11 illustrates details.