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An evaluation of climate change effect on community gardens crop production aimed at enhancing household food security in Dlangezwa, Umdoni Municipality.

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In South Africa, food security at the household level still remains a major challenge (Stats SA, 2020), despite the various initiative programmes provided by the government to help alleviate poverty among lower-income households. The” One home, one garden’ initiative and the ‘community gardens’ introduced in 2010 have been considered as vehicles to buffer food insecurity at household level. However, lately the province has been experiencing the episodes of climate variations. For example, in 2015 the province experienced drought and flooding spells. This attack brings forth some concern, as the climate change episodes could be deterring the progression of community/household gardens, thus threatening the household food security. The aftermath and or continuing attacks of the effect of the climate variation on crop production in household/gardens, could be aggravating low crop production. The study aimed to investigate the effect of climate change on community garden crop production and the farmers' household food security. A survey was conducted among 120 participants of the community gardens to determine their knowledge, perception, and attitude towards climate change. A series 10 focus group discussions were held to further probe on experiences, observations and the behaviors that the farmers have engaged on as the coping strategies to counteract or mitigate the effects of climate change. Key informant interviews with municipality and the Department of Agriculture officials provided insight into the interventions and measures taken by the local Municipality to mitigate the effects of climate change. Moreover, the key informant interviews, served as the study trustworthiness enhancer, as the data collected from the participants was further verified through these interviews. Only 38.3% of the population understood the meaning of Climate Change, which was the minority of the population. Climate change was understood to be the changes in temperature and rainfall patterns in the area. The perceived outcomes of climate change was the reduction of crops and the water supply in the area. The gardens were affected by the onset of pest , diseases and a reduction of water for irrigation. To overcome these challenges the community gardens relied on the the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) for support. The most planted crop by the gardens was spinach, and the least planted crops were beetroot and brinjal. Crops like spinach have a short growing period and produces large yields, and therefore it was most planted. The minority of 41.7% received enough food from the community gardens, while the majority 58.3% did not receive enough food. It was determined that the majority, 40% of the surveyed population, were moderately food insecure and only 15.8% of the population were food secure. The external help received was mainly from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and not the local Municipality. They receive chemicals, seeds, training, and inputs from the DARD. The issues faced by climate change were the increase of pests and disease, change in planting seasons of crops and the change in temperatures and rainfall patterns. It was concluded that the community gardens have not been successful in alleviating food insecurity among the households. It was recommended that a study be conducted on the improvement of productivity and resistance to climate change in community gardens. They have identified the primary alterations associated with climate change as changes in rainfall patterns and temperatures. Despite their awareness, people are apprehensive and fearful of Climate Change. To overcome this obstacle, the DARD must promote active climate change awareness in the community. This will assist community people in learning about climate change and how to reduce the effects of climate change.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.