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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Traditional rainmaking ceremonies resurge in parched Zimbabwe.

Rainmaking makes a comeback in parts of parched Zimbabwe, scientists warn that such traditions may prove a distraction from more effective ways to deal with drought. Those include switching from the country's thirsty staple, maize, to more drought-hardy crops like millet and sorghum, capturing and storing more rainwater, and changing farming practices to preserve moisture in the soil. "We need to educate and train these village elders on the importance of... climate change adaptation measures like conservation agriculture and water harvesting," said Lawrence Nyagwande, who heads Environment Africa, a non-governmental organisation in Manicaland Province. Renewed attention on rainmaking ceremonies as the way to solve the growing problem is deterring some farmers from making those changes they have learnt to work. Even the backers of the rainmaking revival say the weather is nothing like they have seen before, with punishingly hot temperatures over much of the last decade and far more erratic rainfall.continue