Impact of climate variability on tomato production in Limpopo province, South Africa
African Journal of Agricultural Research
Centre for Environmental Studies and Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
The relationship between tomato production, monthly average temperature and seasonal average temperature in Limpopo province, South Africa during the period of 1971 - 2006 were investigated using statistical regression analysis methods. The motivation for selecting Limpopo in this study lies in the 66% tomato contribution to the tomato industry in South Africa. The results showed yearly peak values of tomato in the range of 200 000 - 228 000 tons from year 2000 to 2006. In this study, we analyzed the correlation of tomato records in Limpopo with climatic variables in order to assess the climate change effects of tomato production and food security in South Africa. Our results show that tomato yield increased by a factor of two from 1971 to 2006. Particularly, during autumn, spring, summer and winter, tomato yield increased by a factor of two respectively. It is noteworthy that the majority of months registered positive trends in tomato production, except February and June. These could be attributed to the application of robust farming practices and improved technology over the same period. However, from the trend analysis, results demonstrate that there are possible negative impacts of climate change on crop yield, especially on farmers without advanced technology and good modern agricultural practices. © 2010 Academic Journals.