Managing current and future climate induced risk in Eastern and Central African Agriculture

Rao, K P C (2011) Managing current and future climate induced risk in Eastern and Central African Agriculture. In: 1st ASARECA GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 14-16, Dec., 2011, Entebbe, Uganda.

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Agriculture, the mainstay of economies of all countries in Eastern and Central Africa, continue to remain underdeveloped with inadequate adoption of yield-enhancing technologies, inefficient with low levels of productivity and uncompetitive in a rapidly globalizing world. Farmers continue to prefer use of conventional techniques involving low level of investments over improved technologies that led to green revolution in other regions of the world. One of the main reasons for the low levels of adoption of improved technologies is that agriculture in the region is predominantly rainfed and hence highly vulnerable to uncertain and erratic distribution of rainfall. Rainfall during the crop season, especially in the semi-arid areas, varies from about one third to two and half times the normal amounts creating vastly different seasons with different possibilities. Analysis of long-term historical climatic data indicates that the region experiences cycles of wet and dry periods that are closely linked to cycles in ENSO phenomenon. The entire region, with the exception of Sudan, records above normal rainfall during El Nino years. An increasing trend in temperature is noticed in all the months and in the annual mean minimum and maximum temperatures. The observed rate of increase in temperature compares well with those reported by IPCC in its fourth assessment report. According to IPCC the region will be warmer by about 3.20C and will receive 11% more rainfall by end of the century. Though there are problems in predicting accurately where, when and by how much climate changes, there is general consensus that the rainfall will be more variable with increased frequency of occurrence of extreme vents. The current variability and projected changes will have significant negative impacts on agriculture through changes in the growing environment and in other parameters such as nutrient and water availability on which crop production depends. Several available soil, water and crop management technologies have the potential to mitigate the negative impacts of climate variability and change but their adoption by smallholder farmers is very low, mainly due climate induced risk and uncertainty over returns on investment. The paper presents some of the available options that help in preparing for and managing climate risks. It highlights the potential benefits from use of seasonal climate forecast information in planning farm operations and suggests some simple, inexpensive and efficient technologies that involve very low levels of investment and risk. In general, research community from the region paid very little attention to climate induced risk in agriculture which needs to be corrected to address the threats from climate change effectively.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Others > Climate Change
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2012 08:21
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2013 07:38
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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