Adapting to Climate Change in Africa

Two New IFPRI Papers Focus on Options
August 12, 2009

Two new IFPRI research papers focus on the consequences of climate change for poor farmers in Africa and provide policymakers with adaptation strategies. Economywide Impacts of Climate Change on Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa analyzes two possible climate change adaptation options for the region. The paper uses two scenarios: the first doubles the irrigated area in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2050 but keeps total crop area constant; and the second scenario increases both rainfed and irrigated crop yields by 25 percent for all Sub-Saharan African countries. Due to the limited initial irrigated area in the region, an increase in agricultural productivity achieves better outcomes than an expansion of irrigated area. Both scenarios help lower world food prices, stimulating national and international food markets. Soil and Water Conservation Technologies: A Buffer against Production Risk in the Face of Climate Change? investigates the impact of different soil and water conservation technologies on the variance of crop production in Ethiopia to determine the risks of the different technologies for different regions and rainfall zones. The results show that soil and water conservation technologies have significant impacts on reducing production risk in Ethiopia and could be part of the country’s climate-proofing strategy. However, one-size-fits-all recommendations are not appropriate, so policymakers will have to use careful geographical targeting when identifying appropriate agricultural practices to act as a buffer against climate change.