Agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa faces daunting challenges, which climate change and increasing climate variability will compound in vulnerable areas. The impacts of a changing climate on agricultural production in a world that warms by 4°C or more are likely to be severe in places. The livelihoods of many croppers and livestock keepers in Africa are associated with diversity of options. The changes in crop and livestock production that are likely to result in a 4°C+ world will diminish the options available to most smallholders. In such a world, current crop and livestock varieties and agricultural practices will often be inadequate, and food security will be more difficult to achieve because of commodity price increases and local production shortfalls. While adaptation strategies exist, considerable institutional and policy support will be needed to implement them successfully on the scale required. Even in the 2°C+ world that appears inevitable, planning for and implementing successful adaptation strategies are critical if agricultural growth in the region is to occur, food security be achieved and household livelihoods be enhanced. As part of this effort, better understanding of the critical thresholds in global and African food systems requires urgent research.
Challinor, A.J.; Ericksen, P.J.; Jones, P.G.; Thornton, P.K. Agriculture and food systems in sub-Saharan Africa in a 4°C+ world. Philosophical Transactions A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences (2011) 369 (1934) 117-136. [DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2010.0246]