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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. 8445-8458
Bioline Code: nd14002
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. 8445-8458

Stigter, CJ & Ofori, E


In this paper 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 and this left panel is about (ii). This second panel starts with a compelling review of the present situation of food security, referring to African examples to improve the situation. Then the influence is discussed that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has on increasing climate variability as a consequence of climate change. It is indicated that, to date, climate models have been developed with little knowledge of agricultural systems dynamics. On the other hand one can illustrate that agricultural policy analysis has been conducted with little knowledge of climate dynamics. As a direct consequence of capricious behaviour of particularly rainfall in West Africa, the adaptation of its farmers has lagged behind enormously. This statement is valid for most farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Within the climate science community there is an emerging effort to make findings more suitable for decision making, but as yet there is little consensus as to how data may be relied upon for decision making. Then a lot of attention is paid to how response farming, that is thoroughly defined, can play an important role in coping with the consequences of climate variability. Response farming is often limited envisaging rainfall events, but coping with weather and climate (and often soil) disasters as well as using windows of weather and climate (and often soil) opportunities are other forms of responding to weather and climate (and often soil) realities. Services such as in advice on design rules on above and below ground microclimate management or manipulation, with respect to any appreciable microclimatic improvement: shading, wind protection, mulching, other surface modification, drying, storage, frost protection and so on belong to such “response farming” agrometeorological services. Ideally, to get optimal preparations, farmers get advisories/services through extension intermediaries, backed by scientists, to properly understand decision options through discussions supported by economic analyses. Throughout the paper text boxes are used that illustrate local conditions that must be taken into account if one wants to understand the impacts/consequences of climate change for African farmers and how they may cope with them.

Climate variability; response farming; services

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