CLIMATE IMPACT ON AGRICULTURE
Climate change affects the whole world, though the poorest people who contribute least to global warming are the ones who suffer the most. Since the 1980s, scientists have been predicting the serious consequences of climate change (Ford, 1982). According to James Crater, Climate change will put over 100 million people at risk of hunger by 2080 with 80% of them being in Africa. After the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, the African Continent has gathered enough confidence impacts of climate change on agricultural systems. Warming trends have already become evident across the continent, and it is likely that the continent 2000 mean annual temperature change will exceed +2°C by 2100. Added to this warming trend, changes in precipitation patterns are also of concern: Even if rainfall remains constant, due to increasing temperatures, existing water stress will be amplified, putting even more pressure on agricultural systems, especially in semiarid areas across the continent.
Much of African agriculture’s vulnerability to climate change lies in the fact that its agricultural systems remain largely rain-fed and underdeveloped, as the majority of Africa’s farmers are small-scale farmers with few financial resources, limited access to infrastructure, and disparate access to information. At the same time, as these systems are highly reliant on their environment, and farmers are dependent on farming for their livelihoods, their diversity, context specificity, and the existence of generations of traditional knowledge offer elements of resilience in the face of climate change. According to ResearchGate, Third World countries, particularly Africa are threatened by the predicted effects of climate change because of their economic dependence on climate for development whose backbone is agriculture. There is strong evidence from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) that the observed increases in greenhouse gases particularly Carbon dioxide (CO2) may lead to global warming, sea-level rise and space-time changes in climatic zones and seasons on the globe.
Though Africa faces issues with its agricultural and socioeconomic sectors, they are still resilient. As the continent with the highest population growth rate, rapid urbanization trends, and rising GDP in many countries, Africa’s agricultural systems will need to become adaptive to more than just climate change as the uncertainties of the 21st century unfold.