The timing of agricultural production in hazard-prone areas to prevent losses at peak-risk periods: A case of Malawi, Madagascar and Mozambique
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Hazard-prone areas in southern Africa experience many natural hazards, which include cyclones, floods and droughts. The severe climatic conditions of southern Africa have an especially large impact on the agricultural practices of small-scale farmers. These hazards should be mitigated to ensure more resilient communities and food security. This study mainly focuses on the timing of agricultural production in hazard-prone areas to prevent losses at peak-risk periods by adapting the agricultural cycle. This study focuses on the agricultural activities of small-scale farmers in Malawi, Madagascar and Mozambique. A literature review is presented, and a mixed-method research design were followed to determine the timing of production followed by these small-scale farmers and its impact on production and food security. Although this study found that the small-scale farmers generally plant with the first rains, it is recommended by literature that early planting should be practised to ensure optimal production. It is also recommended that small-scale farmers should implement water management techniques for dry periods, and when farmers practice late planting, the use of residual-moisture retention should be utilised as a mitigation measure. This will in effect ensure that the communities are less vulnerable during peak-risk periods by improving or ensuring food security. Therefore, adapting the planting and production time in these hazardprone areas at peak-risk periods could limit losses and increase communities’ resilience.