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Title: Coping better with current climatic variability in the rain-fed farming systems of sub-Saharan Africa : a dress rehearsal for adapting to future climate change?
Authors: Cooper, P.J.M.
Dimes, J.
Rao, K.P.C.
Shapiro, B.
Shiferaw, B.
Twomlow, S.
Date: 2006
Publisher: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
Series/Report no.: Global theme on agroecosystems report; no. 27
Abstract: Far greater investment in the rain-fed farming systems of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is essential if chronic food shortages and poverty are to be reduced and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals is to be achieved. However, in such systems, rainfall variability is the fundamental factor that defines production uncertainty, and whilst farmers have learned to cope with current climatic variability, they and many associated potential investors are ‘risk averse’ and over-estimate the impact of rainfall variability on crop and livestock production. As a result they are reluctant to make such investments when the outcomes seem so uncertain from year to year. Climate change will result in even greater rainfall variability in many parts of SSA and can only exacerbate this situation. However, unless the livelihoods of resource poor farmers and the natural resource base upon which they depend are made more resilient though coping better with current climate variability, the challenge of adapting to future climate change will be daunting for most and perhaps impossible for many. ICRISAT is helping to bring together a consortium of national, regional and international partners that will bring new and proven climate risk management tools to address the concerns of farmers and stakeholder investors and will help them build strategic and tactical climate risk management approaches into their planning and activities. Indeed, if a better understanding of the constraints and opportunities of climatically induced risk is not provided to key stakeholders and farmers alike, investment in the rain-fed agricultural sector in SSA is likely to remain at its current low and inadequate level resulting in persistent poverty and vulnerability of rural populations. The Consortium experts are convinced that the successful application of these approaches will, by 2015, have facilitated and guided agricultural investments that will play a major role in moving towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and in answering Secretary Kofi Annan’s call for a truly African Green Revolution.
Project Number: 104146
Project Title: Managing Risk, Reducing Vulnerability and Enhancing Productivity under a Changing Climate
Access: IDRC Only
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