Politics

Africa: Climate-Smart Policies Could See Crop Yields Soar


Freetwon — Implementing climate-smart policies such as irrigation and growing recommended crops could increase crop production by 50 to 700 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa, a modelling tool shows.

The tool could be key to tackling the impact of climate change on food production in the region, according to a report which forecasts the impact of agriculture and food system changes over time across four countries – Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.

The Future Estimator for Emissions and Diets (iFEED) was used to examine the escalating climate crisis in Africa and find solutions to mitigate against it.

“Increasing climate uncertainty, a warming trend, and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events all contribute to food production being less stable,” says Stephen Whitfield, a co-author of the report and associate professor of climate change and food security at the University of Leeds, in the UK.

Through iFEED, the researchers analysed the consequences of different agricultural strategies in the context of changing climates and suggested recommendations for policies that could improve the resilience of small-scale agricultural production, the report says.

According to the report released last month (24 March), countries can improve the resilience, availability and accessibility of nutritious food through strategies such as land and resource management and technological innovations.

It says that reducing climate risks could increase food production in South Africa by 50 per cent, while in Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi the figures were 252 per cent, 685 per cent and 700 per cent respectively.

Whitfield says that the challenges associated with food and nutrition security, climate change impacts, and land use in Southern Africa are complex and highly interconnected.