This research is significant as it shows the value of indigenous knowledge and how there are alternative ways to predict the weather for an agriculture season.
This research advocates for the value of indigenous knowledge for predicting seasonal weather conditions that could impact agriculture for that season. Farmers already use this knowledge as early warning systems for extreme weather. This means that they can predict when to expect a drought, extreme rainfall that may cause flooding, or a normal season.
Extreme weather can be predicted through monitoring the natural environment, and assessing small changes that are indicators for that season. For example, for a normal rainy season, in the Choma region, indicators may include: observing swallows in October, mist of the hills, the appearance of dark clouds during “Lwiindi Traditional Ceremony” (Harvest Thanks Giving Ceremony), or the appearance of the “Morning Star” just before the on-set of the rain season. For a drought season, indicators may include low temperatures in the months of September and October, migration of black ants from one point to another, or the high fruiting of wild fruits.
The knowledge and skill required to understand these predictions for upcoming weather are learnt from elders, and passed on to generations. This means that those who know it best would be the elders within a village, and these are the ones who should be approached for the predictions.
This research was based on a case study in the Choma district, which is one of the key agriculture based provinces in Zambia, accounting for 11% of the total agricultural households in the country.
For this particular area, a drought season could be predicted by an increased occurrence of special insects (particularly from the caterpillar family) and winters preceding the on-set of the rain season are very cold, wind flow can be predicted by unusual direction and this is also coupled with high fruiting levels by the wild fruit trees.
The data for this research was collected from two focus group discussions with elder farmers in the Choma district of southern province, Zambia. These farmers were predominantly between the ages 70-80. the focus group discussions were made of around 10 members (3 female, 7 male).
A limitation of this research is that it only analysed one area, which means the indicators used for predicting weather may only be relevant for the study area. If there was more funding, there could be wider research coverage for comparing the indicators across other regions too.
The collected indigenous knowledge should also be compared with expert knowledge (gathered using technology) to determine variances. A future study could also examine the differences and similarities between ‘experts’ and farmers.
|Indigenous Knowledge||This is traditional knowledge which has been passed rom one generation to the next.|
Chisanga, Kafula; Mvula, Andrew Bosco & Taban Habibu (2017). The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in Climate Adaptation : Experiences with Farmer Perceptions from Climate Change Project in Sedumbwe Agricultural Camp of Southern Zambia. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 7(9), 94–101.