Climate change threatens African crops

2016-03-08 07:54

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Paris - Climate change will claim vast swathes of land needed to grow staple food crops in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly maize, bananas and beans, researchers warned on Monday.

Up to 30% of areas growing maize and bananas may become unsuitable for the purpose this century, said the authors of a study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

For beans, "this number rises up to 60%," said a statement from the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture.

This was based on worst case-scenario climate change projections in which greenhouse gas emissions continue rising unabated and temperatures warm as much as 4.8°C over pre-Industrial levels this century.

Crops should be replaced with heat- and drought-resistant sorghum or millet to prevent food shortages, said the team.

"Given that solutions such as breeding improved crops can take a minimum of 15 years to complete, the report authors stress the urgency for action," said the statement.

Banana-growing regions in West Africa will have to change their land use in the next ten years, as will bean-growing regions in Angola, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe by 2050.

"All maize-growing regions in Niger will need to undergo transformation by 2100," said the statement.

"Around 30% of Benin's yam growing areas will be unsuitable by the end of the century, as well as 35% of Senegal's groundnut-growing regions."

Read more on:    southern africa  |  agriculture  |  climate change

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