Sunday, January 12, 2014

Climate change and agriculture in East Africa

A press release from the International Food Policy Research Institute: Population growth in East Africa is among the highest in the world and could worsen food insecurity, which is already severe. Arable areas in the region are under severe pressure to increase their productivity to feed a rapidly increasing human population. Climate change could exacerbate the situation; adaptation is essential for sustained economic growth in the East Africa. This is the challenge facing policymakers, who must plan for the future without available information and analysis.

A new book, published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and released today by three research organizations, starts to fill this information gap. East African Agriculture and Climate Change examines the food security threats facing 11 of the countries that make up East and central Africa—Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda—and explores how climate change will increase the requirements for achieving sustainable food security throughout the region. Agriculture drives these countries’ economies and accounts for 43 percent of their annual gross domestic product.

The book is the result of collaboration among IFPRI, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), and scientists f
rom each of the countries studied. Using sophisticated modeling and available data to develop future scenarios and explore a range of climate change consequences for agriculture, food security, and resource management, the book offers recommendations to national governments and regional agencies. Findings from the book include the following:

  • Without adaptation, climate change will have negative effects on wheat, soybean, sorghum, and irrigated rice yields. Yield declines for each crop are different, but they range between 5 and 20 percent, with irrigated rice being the crop most negatively impacted.
  • Rainfed maize and rainfed rice yields might increase slightly because of climate change, generally because of projected higher rainfall in some areas.
  • Of the major crops grown in the region, maize is likely to have the highest price increase by 2050, with some models showing the real price doubling on the global markets.
  • With adaptation to climate change, including investment in agricultural technology (including development of new varieties), maize yields could increase across the region by more than 50 percent between now and 2050....

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