A model approach to analyse sowing strategies for maize in southern Mozambique.

  • J.M. Schouwenaars
  • G.H. Pelgrum


In S. Mozambique, rain falls mainly between Oct. and Apr. Year by year fluctuations of rainfall are extremely wide and rainfall is very erratic. In the sandy soils of the coastal zone, capacity for water retention is very low. Production and consumption of maize is also affected by losses caused by pests and diseases and post-harvest losses. A simple water balance and crop growth model was applied to simulate production of maize for different sowing strategies. Available maize for consumption per month for an average family farming unit was determined for the period 1957-85. Model parameters which describe soil water availability were varied to study their impact upon sowing strategies. Values for potential production were also varied. For maximizing yearly consumption the preferred strategy almost fully depended on losses by pests and diseases and post-harvest losses. However, regarding the decision criterion of minimizing the periods with food shortage the preferred sowing strategy greatly depended on water availability and potential production levels. (Abstract retrieved from CAB Abstracts by CABI’s permission)