Climate and Minimum Temperature


The Rufiji Basin has a wide range of temperatures, from extremely warm in the lowlands near the coast, to cold temperatures in the Rubeho Mountains, Iringa Highlands, Mbarika Mountains and Kipengere Range (thereafter referred to as the Highlands). The plains north of the Iringa Highlands are somewhat cooler than those south of the Highlands, where even minimum temperatures average over 25°C.

Most rice varieties, including those grown in Rufiji Basin, thrive in warm climates and do not produce in cooler temperatures. Temperatures below 25°C will slow the reproductive processes, and minimum temperatures below 18°C will generally cause sterility. Under these conditions, rice is restricted to lower elevation areas in the Basin.

Maize does best under moderate temperatures, and its temperature range is greater than for rice. It has a higher ability to withstand cooler temperatures. Optimum minimum temperatures are 21°C to 27°C. Minimum temperatures below 10°C affect maize at all stages, reducing germination and delaying and reducing grain harvest. Maize can thus grow in higher elevation zones than rice. In the lowlands, however, very warm maximum temperatures lead to higher respiration. Warmer temperatures reduce maize yield while increasing its water demand.


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