Spatial and Temporal Drought Characterization in View of the Best Irrigation Practices in Central Malawi
Chikabvumbwa, Sylvester Richard
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Recently, in Kasungu Agricultural Development Division (ADD), agricultural production has been challenged by uneven rainfall distribution spatially and temporally leading to constant dry spells and droughts resulting in economic losses. This study sought to characterize the temporal and spatial variations of drought from 1977 to 2017 and relate it to climate smart irrigation technologies that can be promoted and drought resistant crops that can be grown in the area. The previous studies done in Malawi did not look into drought characterization and only used the Percentile Index such that other indices were not considered for drought analysis. This study bridged this gap by using different monitoring drought indices in DMAP software. It was found that the ADD experiences mild and moderate meteorological droughts, frequent moderate agricultural droughts and extreme hydrological droughts. Based on the results on crop water requirements in CropWAT software, this study found that cassava should be promoted in the region as a drought resistant crop. Furthermore, the study found out that surface irrigation systems with low efficiencies are commonly used and that climate smart irrigation technologies are not largely practiced in the ADD. This study recommends the promotion of rainwater harvesting technologies and the adoption of drip and micro-sprinklers irrigation systems in the ADD.