Climate change and agriculture

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: J.B. Russell/Panos

Agriculture vital to tackling effects of climate change

by Sam Otieno

“Something that is clear is that for most countries in Africa adaptation is a priority, but we need to understand the mitigation impacts of any implemented adaptation actions.” – Julian Ramirez-Villegas, The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

Speed read

  • Sub-Saharan Africa relies on rainfall for 95 per cent of crop production
  • A study shows crops such as maize and beans will be hit hard by climate change
  • Transformational changes including a focus on livestock farming may be needed

Agriculture should receive more attention as climate change could affect rainfall rates and patterns, resulting in more droughts and increased catastrophic flooding that could affect food production across the world, according to experts.

At a meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) panel last month (1-11 June) in Bonn, Germany, the experts discussed the need to make agriculture more prominent in a global treaty on climate change expected to be signed in Paris, France in November-December this year.

Scientists have warned that Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly vulnerable to the threat of El Nino as 95 per cent of its crop production area relies entirely on rainfall. Under climate change, this means that multiple stresses such as drought interact, causing large decreases in productivity.

Read the full article: SciDevNet


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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