Climate change hits African agriculture says report
Business Live - Dec 8th 2011, 09:04
New research reveals that Africa will face significantly lower crop yields in the next 10 years as a result of increasing temperatures, threatening the food security of millions.
The new report on climate change and African agriculture examined the extent of climate change impacts in Africa and their effects on food security, and found that even small temperature increases were likely to affect yields.
The report was published by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), the technical arm of the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev Africa) programme, based at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
The report's author, Prof Doreen Stabinsky, said: "Global temperature rise must be limited urgently to avoid serious impacts on African agricultural production. International offset programmes, which provide a substitute for action in developed countries, are actually further threatening food security in Africa."
She said "African farmers and pastoralists are already seeing changes in the timing of rains, in the severity of rains, in temperatures, and in the progressive drying of their soils."
Recent research summarised in the report concluded that from 1980-2008, due to rising global temperatures, global maize and wheat yields have already decreased by 3.8% and 5.5% respectively.
"African countries are highly vulnerable to climate change, and the agriculture sector is a good indicator of vulnerability given its importance to livelihoods and the economy. The impact that current and historic GHG [greenhouse gas] emission is having on agriculture in Africa needs to be better understood in order for African negotiators to negotiate effectively, armed with the kind of information outlined in this report," said Seyni Nafo, spokesperson for the African Group.
At the current rate of temperature increase, global average temperatures will have increased 1.5°C by 2050. Studies quoted in the report estimate average production losses by 2050 for African maize at 22%, sorghum 17%, millet 17%, groundnut 18%, and cassava 8%.
"Warming as low as 1.5°C threatens food production in Africa significantly," added Stabinsky.
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