Tag Archives: IFPRI

Climate change adds to East Africa’s food plight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Agriculture dominates the economies of countries in East Africa: if plans aren’t made to adapt to climate change the region’s rapidly expanding population faces a grim future, says a new report. LONDON, 19 December – The report, East African Agriculture and Climate Change, published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), looks at threats to food supplies in 11 countries in East and Central Africa – Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Agriculture accounts for more than 40% of gross domestic product across the region. The report says soil deficiencies in many parts mean agricultural productivity is falling. Ecosystems are depleted, infrastructure is poor and there’s a lack of reliable information and policy coordination. Meanwhile weather systems are becoming more erratic and violent. “Climate change will have far-reaching consequences for the poor and marginalized groups, among which the majority depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and have a lower capacity to adapt…this situation is likely to become more desperate and to threaten the very survival of the most vulnerable farmers as global warming continues”, says the study.

Bleak prospect

Crop production across the region depends overwhelmingly on rainfall. Many areas are likely to see less rainfall in future and an increased incidence of droughts. In 2011 there were prolonged droughts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Rising temperatures in many areas are likely to result in reduced crop yields: harvests of wheat, soybean, sorghum and irrigated rice could decline by between 5% and 20%, with irrigated rice production being the hardest hit. However, output of rain-fed maize and rain-fed rice might increase slightly, due to increased rainfall in some areas. Endemic poverty affects more than 50% of the region’s 360 million people. Overall – unless adaptation measures, including the introduction of new crop varieties, better land management and the advancing of planting dates to cope better with changes in climate are adopted – the outlook for the region is bleak, warns the report. “Recent trends and the current performance of agriculture expose a region that is progressively less able to meet the needs of its burgeoning population.”

Insurance unaffordable

The countries of East Africa have among the highest population increases in the world: between 1988 and 2008 the region’s population – excluding that of the DRC – increased by “a staggering” 74%. By 2050, that population could double. While there’s growing urbanisation across the region and more industrial development, agriculture will continue to dominate the countries’ economies. The report says there’s a role for insurance schemes which would enable farmers to cope better with changes in climate. But persuading those working on the land – mainly smallholders – to invest in such schemes is hard, with no spare cash available to spend on even small premiums. The study is a collaboration between IFPRI, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) and regional scientists. Previous studies have looked at the impact of climate change on agriculture in West Africa and southern Africa. – Climate News Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Agriculture dominates the economies of countries in East Africa: if plans aren’t made to adapt to climate change the region’s rapidly expanding population faces a grim future, says a new report. LONDON, 19 December – The report, East African Agriculture and Climate Change, published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), looks at threats to food supplies in 11 countries in East and Central Africa – Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Agriculture accounts for more than 40% of gross domestic product across the region. The report says soil deficiencies in many parts mean agricultural productivity is falling. Ecosystems are depleted, infrastructure is poor and there’s a lack of reliable information and policy coordination. Meanwhile weather systems are becoming more erratic and violent. “Climate change will have far-reaching consequences for the poor and marginalized groups, among which the majority depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and have a lower capacity to adapt…this situation is likely to become more desperate and to threaten the very survival of the most vulnerable farmers as global warming continues”, says the study.

Bleak prospect

Crop production across the region depends overwhelmingly on rainfall. Many areas are likely to see less rainfall in future and an increased incidence of droughts. In 2011 there were prolonged droughts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Rising temperatures in many areas are likely to result in reduced crop yields: harvests of wheat, soybean, sorghum and irrigated rice could decline by between 5% and 20%, with irrigated rice production being the hardest hit. However, output of rain-fed maize and rain-fed rice might increase slightly, due to increased rainfall in some areas. Endemic poverty affects more than 50% of the region’s 360 million people. Overall – unless adaptation measures, including the introduction of new crop varieties, better land management and the advancing of planting dates to cope better with changes in climate are adopted – the outlook for the region is bleak, warns the report. “Recent trends and the current performance of agriculture expose a region that is progressively less able to meet the needs of its burgeoning population.”

Insurance unaffordable

The countries of East Africa have among the highest population increases in the world: between 1988 and 2008 the region’s population – excluding that of the DRC – increased by “a staggering” 74%. By 2050, that population could double. While there’s growing urbanisation across the region and more industrial development, agriculture will continue to dominate the countries’ economies. The report says there’s a role for insurance schemes which would enable farmers to cope better with changes in climate. But persuading those working on the land – mainly smallholders – to invest in such schemes is hard, with no spare cash available to spend on even small premiums. The study is a collaboration between IFPRI, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) and regional scientists. Previous studies have looked at the impact of climate change on agriculture in West Africa and southern Africa. – Climate News Network

Climate threat to Southern Africa's crops

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Southern Africa could be among areas hardest hit by climate change. A rapidly expanding population is likely to add to future problems, says a new study.

LONDON, 11 September – The study, published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and with contributions from scientists in countries across the southern Africa region, uses available data and a variety of models to examine likely agricultural developments, particularly related to crops, in the period to 2050.

Agriculture is the primary source of employment and income for most of the rural population in southern Africa. In Malawi about 40% of gross domestic product (GDP) comes from agriculture.  In Zimbabwe, about 80% of the population depends directly on agriculture.

More than 50% of agricultural land in the area is devoted to cereal crops, with maize accounting for more than 40% of the total harvested area. Millet and sorghum are also important crops, especially in drier areas. Some countries in the region, such as Botswana and Lesotho, already struggle to meet demand for maize and sorghum and have to import large amounts, mainly from South Africa.

The study says climate change, with rising temperatures and increasingly erratic rainfall patterns across much of the region, will likely cause a decline in average maize and sorghum yields. However, some areas, such as southern Mozambique, will see a growth in harvests. Wheat harvests could be particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures.

Extreme weather events – such as droughts, floods and changes in the frequency and intensity of dry spells – already negatively affect agriculture in most parts of Africa, says the study.

“Higher temperatures tend to reduce yields of crops by reducing soil moisture content and the length of the growing season, and in most places they tend to encourage weed and pest proliferation.”

Most farming in the region is carried out by smallholders who depend on rainfall to water their crops. “Greater variations in precipitation patterns increase the likelihood of crop failures and long-run production declines,” says the study.

Across much of southern Africa, increasing numbers of people are migrating from rural to urban areas in search of work. This movement of people could intensify with changes in climate, the study says.

Adaptation is key

Increased adaptation measures such as planting more drought-resistant crops will help mitigate the impact of climate change. Rising incomes across much of the region will help alleviate some of the problems expected.

Governments in many of the countries investigated – Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are already undertaking various schemes aimed at helping farmers adapt to climate change.

“Successful agricultural adaptation to climate change is not just about better seeds and practices but building better roads and education systems, which give farmers greater access to markets and the background necessary to make fully informed decisions about new agricultural practices,” says the study.

However, continuing population growth, along with changes in climate, are likely to worsen food insecurity in the region. According to medium range estimates, the overall population of the southern Africa region is expected to increase by about 70% between now and 2050 – from 142 million to more than 240 million people – with Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia all more than doubling their populations. – Climate News Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Southern Africa could be among areas hardest hit by climate change. A rapidly expanding population is likely to add to future problems, says a new study.

LONDON, 11 September – The study, published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and with contributions from scientists in countries across the southern Africa region, uses available data and a variety of models to examine likely agricultural developments, particularly related to crops, in the period to 2050.

Agriculture is the primary source of employment and income for most of the rural population in southern Africa. In Malawi about 40% of gross domestic product (GDP) comes from agriculture.  In Zimbabwe, about 80% of the population depends directly on agriculture.

More than 50% of agricultural land in the area is devoted to cereal crops, with maize accounting for more than 40% of the total harvested area. Millet and sorghum are also important crops, especially in drier areas. Some countries in the region, such as Botswana and Lesotho, already struggle to meet demand for maize and sorghum and have to import large amounts, mainly from South Africa.

The study says climate change, with rising temperatures and increasingly erratic rainfall patterns across much of the region, will likely cause a decline in average maize and sorghum yields. However, some areas, such as southern Mozambique, will see a growth in harvests. Wheat harvests could be particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures.

Extreme weather events – such as droughts, floods and changes in the frequency and intensity of dry spells – already negatively affect agriculture in most parts of Africa, says the study.

“Higher temperatures tend to reduce yields of crops by reducing soil moisture content and the length of the growing season, and in most places they tend to encourage weed and pest proliferation.”

Most farming in the region is carried out by smallholders who depend on rainfall to water their crops. “Greater variations in precipitation patterns increase the likelihood of crop failures and long-run production declines,” says the study.

Across much of southern Africa, increasing numbers of people are migrating from rural to urban areas in search of work. This movement of people could intensify with changes in climate, the study says.

Adaptation is key

Increased adaptation measures such as planting more drought-resistant crops will help mitigate the impact of climate change. Rising incomes across much of the region will help alleviate some of the problems expected.

Governments in many of the countries investigated – Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are already undertaking various schemes aimed at helping farmers adapt to climate change.

“Successful agricultural adaptation to climate change is not just about better seeds and practices but building better roads and education systems, which give farmers greater access to markets and the background necessary to make fully informed decisions about new agricultural practices,” says the study.

However, continuing population growth, along with changes in climate, are likely to worsen food insecurity in the region. According to medium range estimates, the overall population of the southern Africa region is expected to increase by about 70% between now and 2050 – from 142 million to more than 240 million people – with Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia all more than doubling their populations. – Climate News Network

Climate threat to Southern Africa’s crops

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Southern Africa could be among areas hardest hit by climate change. A rapidly expanding population is likely to add to future problems, says a new study. LONDON, 11 September – The study, published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and with contributions from scientists in countries across the southern Africa region, uses available data and a variety of models to examine likely agricultural developments, particularly related to crops, in the period to 2050. Agriculture is the primary source of employment and income for most of the rural population in southern Africa. In Malawi about 40% of gross domestic product (GDP) comes from agriculture.  In Zimbabwe, about 80% of the population depends directly on agriculture. More than 50% of agricultural land in the area is devoted to cereal crops, with maize accounting for more than 40% of the total harvested area. Millet and sorghum are also important crops, especially in drier areas. Some countries in the region, such as Botswana and Lesotho, already struggle to meet demand for maize and sorghum and have to import large amounts, mainly from South Africa. The study says climate change, with rising temperatures and increasingly erratic rainfall patterns across much of the region, will likely cause a decline in average maize and sorghum yields. However, some areas, such as southern Mozambique, will see a growth in harvests. Wheat harvests could be particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures. Extreme weather events – such as droughts, floods and changes in the frequency and intensity of dry spells – already negatively affect agriculture in most parts of Africa, says the study. “Higher temperatures tend to reduce yields of crops by reducing soil moisture content and the length of the growing season, and in most places they tend to encourage weed and pest proliferation.” Most farming in the region is carried out by smallholders who depend on rainfall to water their crops. “Greater variations in precipitation patterns increase the likelihood of crop failures and long-run production declines,” says the study. Across much of southern Africa, increasing numbers of people are migrating from rural to urban areas in search of work. This movement of people could intensify with changes in climate, the study says.

Adaptation is key

Increased adaptation measures such as planting more drought-resistant crops will help mitigate the impact of climate change. Rising incomes across much of the region will help alleviate some of the problems expected. Governments in many of the countries investigated – Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are already undertaking various schemes aimed at helping farmers adapt to climate change. “Successful agricultural adaptation to climate change is not just about better seeds and practices but building better roads and education systems, which give farmers greater access to markets and the background necessary to make fully informed decisions about new agricultural practices,” says the study. However, continuing population growth, along with changes in climate, are likely to worsen food insecurity in the region. According to medium range estimates, the overall population of the southern Africa region is expected to increase by about 70% between now and 2050 – from 142 million to more than 240 million people – with Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia all more than doubling their populations. – Climate News Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Southern Africa could be among areas hardest hit by climate change. A rapidly expanding population is likely to add to future problems, says a new study. LONDON, 11 September – The study, published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and with contributions from scientists in countries across the southern Africa region, uses available data and a variety of models to examine likely agricultural developments, particularly related to crops, in the period to 2050. Agriculture is the primary source of employment and income for most of the rural population in southern Africa. In Malawi about 40% of gross domestic product (GDP) comes from agriculture.  In Zimbabwe, about 80% of the population depends directly on agriculture. More than 50% of agricultural land in the area is devoted to cereal crops, with maize accounting for more than 40% of the total harvested area. Millet and sorghum are also important crops, especially in drier areas. Some countries in the region, such as Botswana and Lesotho, already struggle to meet demand for maize and sorghum and have to import large amounts, mainly from South Africa. The study says climate change, with rising temperatures and increasingly erratic rainfall patterns across much of the region, will likely cause a decline in average maize and sorghum yields. However, some areas, such as southern Mozambique, will see a growth in harvests. Wheat harvests could be particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures. Extreme weather events – such as droughts, floods and changes in the frequency and intensity of dry spells – already negatively affect agriculture in most parts of Africa, says the study. “Higher temperatures tend to reduce yields of crops by reducing soil moisture content and the length of the growing season, and in most places they tend to encourage weed and pest proliferation.” Most farming in the region is carried out by smallholders who depend on rainfall to water their crops. “Greater variations in precipitation patterns increase the likelihood of crop failures and long-run production declines,” says the study. Across much of southern Africa, increasing numbers of people are migrating from rural to urban areas in search of work. This movement of people could intensify with changes in climate, the study says.

Adaptation is key

Increased adaptation measures such as planting more drought-resistant crops will help mitigate the impact of climate change. Rising incomes across much of the region will help alleviate some of the problems expected. Governments in many of the countries investigated – Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are already undertaking various schemes aimed at helping farmers adapt to climate change. “Successful agricultural adaptation to climate change is not just about better seeds and practices but building better roads and education systems, which give farmers greater access to markets and the background necessary to make fully informed decisions about new agricultural practices,” says the study. However, continuing population growth, along with changes in climate, are likely to worsen food insecurity in the region. According to medium range estimates, the overall population of the southern Africa region is expected to increase by about 70% between now and 2050 – from 142 million to more than 240 million people – with Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia all more than doubling their populations. – Climate News Network