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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5374
Vol. 14, No. 1, 2014, pp. 8428-8444
Bioline Code: nd14001
Full paper language: English
Document type: Review Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2014, pp. 8428-8444

 en WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE MEANS FOR FARMERS IN AFRICA: A TRIPTYCH REVIEW MIDDLE PANEL: INTRODUCTIONAL MATTERS AND CONSEQUENCES OF GLOBAL WARMING FOR AFRICAN FARMERS
Stigter, CJ & Ofori, E

Abstract

Climate change seriously influences the livelihoods of African farmers. It was, therefore, felt useful to make an inventory of what climate change really means for them. In this review in three parts, climate change is approached by dealing with the three sides from which the danger comes: (i) global warming, (ii) increasing climate variability, (iii) more (and possibly more severe) meteorological and climatological extreme events. These are the three panels of this triptych review. Vulnerable communities already suffer. They are, therefore, urgently in need of assistance aimed at building resilience, and at undertaking climate change adaptation efforts to survive and to maintain their livelihoods. Climate change adaptation projects - especially if implemented in the context of adaptation strategies at the macro level - often mobilize public and private stakeholders, engaging them in the problem-solving process. Scientists have an important role to play in these projects. One of the major problems in guiding rural change, in a rural response to climate change, is the low formal level of education that most farmers have and for which governments have done very little to upgrade it. Improved climate literacy is needed among farmers and a better trained extension that can guide farmers in further rainfall monitoring and rainfall interpretation. Further agro-ecosystem observations that, with the rainfall distribution, explain yields and yield differences are also needed. While it is relatively easy to define technical messages that can be communicated, one must look beyond “adaptation to current climate variability“. The basic vulnerability factors of communities must be targeted. One of the problems faced is that experts on climate variability and climate change do not really know what information the grassroots need in the short- and medium-term. However, people assisting vulnerable communities do not know what science generated products are available and how to use them. In this first part of the paper, the consequences of global warming are dealt with at length. Increasing temperatures and changing rainfall patterns get attention first. Other consequences of increasing atmospheric carbondioxide contents and how they influence agricultural production in Africa are also discussed. Ten text boxes distributed over the three parts illustrate local conditions that must be taken into account to understand the impacts/consequences of climate change for African farmers and how they may cope with them.

Keywords
African farmers; climate change; vulnerabilities

 
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