Assessment Of Effects Of Climate Variability On Maize Production In Mbeya Region
The Mbeya Region in Tanzania is relatively fertile and contributes significantly to the national production of maize, the major food crop. Inadequate weeding is considered the main factor limiting maize yields by Croon et al. (1984). This project work was undertaken to assess the effect of Climate variability on maize production in Mbeya region, with the aims of determining the relationship between climate variables and maize yields together with developing a maize yields prediction equation. An equation of this form may assist maize farmers and planners in decision making concerning application of farm inputs, storage, and marketing of produce and when to irrigate, spray and apply fertilizers. The data of annual rainfall and mean maximum and minimum temperatures for this study was collected for the period ranging from 1972 to 2012. In the study area maize harvested in one season per year. The maize varieties used in Mbeya region are UH615. UH6303 and TMV2, these normally takes the period of 120 days (which is about five months) from Sowing stage to it’s Maturity stage in which case the Planting process start from 20th of December up to April and from there harvesting process can be taken place. The maize yields data in Metric ton per hectors (MT/HA) was obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives in Tanzania for the period ranging from 1990/1991 to 2011/2012. The climate data that was considered in the study includes annual rainfall (mm), mean maximum and minimum temperatures in degrees centigrade (°C). The data was subjected to correlation and regression analysis with yields as the dependent variable and climate data as independent variables. The parameters that have significant correlation coefficients with maize yields were subjected to multiple regression analysis in order to develop the desired statistical regression model. Fortunately for the correlation analysis of maize yields and climate variables, all parameters were considered correlated not significantly, this might be because those climatic parameters used in the study were not the limiting factors and due to the assumption made for the relationship was linear while not linear, hence the prediction equation for the maize yields was no longer developed.