News / Africa

    African Farmers Can Overcome Warming Climate, Says Study

    African Farmers Can Overcome Warming Climate, Says Study
    African Farmers Can Overcome Warming Climate, Says Study

    A new study on the effects of climate change on agriculture offers some rare hopeful news for African farmers. Researchers say that lowered crop production expected as a result of rising global temperatures can be overcome by adopting under-utilized farming techniques.

    Scientists have long-warned that Africa, with its deep reliance on subsistence rain-fed agriculture, is particularly vulnerable to a changing climate.

    Higher temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns are expected to plague the region with harsher growing climates and an increase in emergency droughts and floods.

    But Peter Cooper, a researcher in a new study published this week, says that, as far as agriculture is concerned, the apocalyptic predictions for this chronically-food-insecure continent need not come to pass.

    "Countries, and the continent itself, could be a food exporter - they could have food surpluses - even under climate change, just through the adoption of what is known now," said Peter Cooper.

    The new study from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics calculates that there is no reason why most farmers on the continent will not be able to significantly surpass current yields even after a rise of three degrees Celsius.

    Scientists found that basic techniques such as fertilizer use, rainfall management, and crop rotations, if adopted, would more than compensate for adverse climate trends for farmlands in the region's semi-arid tropics.

    Key to the researchers' finding is that while most of the world has significantly changed the way food is grown over the last fifty years, sub-Saharan Africa has lagged terribly behind.

    The use of fertilizer in the region has done little more than stagnate over this time period. Despite beginning at the same levels of fertilizer use in 1960, South Asia now consumes more than ten-fold the rate found in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Cooper says that Africa's policy makers should immediately begin pushing policies that promote better farming practices. He says the benefits will be felt long before climate change becomes the serious challenge many soon expect.

    "If you help farmers adopt agricultural technologies that are available now, you are going to improve their livelihoods hugely before the climate change, and even after, when climate change becomes a serious threat in 20 or 30 years time, they will still be getting higher yields than they are right now," he said. "So it's a win-win situation: improving livelihoods now, and helping them adapt to climate change when it comes."

    The researchers found that the expected rise in temperatures would have a much greater effect on crop production than the light shift in rainfall patterns predicted by the scientists' climate models. Hotter temperatures can cause lower crop yields due to declining photosynthetic efficiency and faster plant maturation rates.

    A study published last year found that the Tanzanian economy could suffer a two-thirds drop in gross domestic product before the end of the century if the East African nation does not immediately begin adapting its agricultural industry to face expected shifts in climate. The researchers of this previous study suggested it serve as a warning to all countries in the region.

    You May Like

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora