African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6578

Full Length Research Paper

Impact of drought on food scarcity in Limpopo province, South Africa

Phokele Maponya* and Sylvester Mpandeli        
Department of Environmental Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria 0002, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 28 August 2012
  •  Published: 25 September 2012


Drought in Limpopo province is having serious ecological and economic consequences and will pose an increasing challenge to communities as the global climate is changing. A representative sample of 300 farmers aged 16 to 65+ years was used. The study involved Sekhukhune and Capricorn districts. The following 11 local municipalities were visited: Elias Motsoaledi, Makhuduthamaga, Fetakgomo, Ephraim Mogale, Tubatse, Lepelle Nkumpi, Blouberg, Aganang, Polokwane, and Molemole. The results showed that current Limpopo province weather is dominated by drought and as results of the severe drought the province experienced reduced grazing and water for livestock and irrigation which negatively impacted the agricultural sector and hence resulting in food scarcity. The results also indicated that in some parts of the Limpopo province, farmers are already forced to sell their livestock because of drought conditions, and that there was a shortage of rainfall in the following years: 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009, respectively. The results showed enhanced probabilities of 50% for above normal maximum temperatures in the entire Limpopo province. This is again raising very serious temperature trends in Limpopo province which will increase poor rainfall patterns and accelerate frequency of droughts.This will in turn place a serious challenge for agriculture, not only in the province but South Africa as a whole because a sharp decline in agricultural production would not only have implications for a province or country but also for the region as a whole.


Key words: Drought, climate variability, climate change, agricultural production, food scarcity, Limpopo province, South Africa.