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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Jamba: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies
Title Communal farming, climate change adaptation and the media in Zimbabwe
Author(s)
Volume 8
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://jamba.org.za/index.php/jamba/article/view/239/407
Abstract
Climate change is destroying Zimbabwean communal farmers’ agricultural activities – a
source of living for most people. As communal farmers struggle to adapt, the media is expected
to assume a fundamental theoretical role of educating and informing them about the
appropriate adaptation techniques. Located in Umguza District in Matabeleland North
Province, the study explored how communal farmers created meaning out of climate change
media content and its influence on their agricultural practices from October 2014 to April 2015.
In doing so, the study used the Two-Step Flow theory and Hall’s Encoding and Decoding
Model. Entrenched in pragmatism, the study embedded quantitative techniques at different
stages. Multistage sampling combining Simple Random Sampling (SRS), purposive and
systematic sampling techniques was used to identify the 263 households for semi structured
questionnaires, direct observations and in-depth interviews. The findings were analysed using
Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), thematic analysis and pattern matching. The
results show that personal observations; print, broadcast and online media; and opinion
leaders were the main sources of climate change information. The radio was the most used
medium in communicating climate change adaptation though it was the second most accessed
after mobile phones. Conservation Agriculture and planting of drought-resistant crops were
some of the adaptation techniques communicated in the media. When interacting with media
content, communal farmers create their own meaning influenced by their cultural values,
resulting in some adopting, rejecting or modifying certain adaptation techniques. The study
concludes that opinion leaders are fundamental in communal farmers’ interaction with media
but their influence must not be overestimated.

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