Climate change, agriculture, and foodcrop production in Ghana

Despite the recent transition to an industry and service sec-tors-led economy, agriculture still plays a fundamental role in Ghana. The sector comprises approximately 30 percent of the country’s GDP to date and employs approximately 50 percent of the population (10). The agricultural sector is believed to have the potential to grow at rates as high as six percent (2), but climate change could potentially inhibit such progress in the long run, given that the sector is particularly vulnerable to this ongoing phenomenon.
The vulnerability of Ghana’s agriculture to climate change is largely due to its dependence on rainfall (26), particularly in the country’s semi-arid north. Climate change can also exacerbate underlying problems that affect the agriculture sector. Such problems include: 1. the north-south social divide and water allocation disputes between the two regions; 2. cross-boundary water is-sues; and 3. tensions arising from economic dependence on crops susceptible to changes in climatic conditions, such as cocoa (3).
Ghana’s agriculture is not only vulnerable to climate change; it also contributes to the problem: Agriculture is estimated to be the second largest contributor to Ghana’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after the energy sector. Important sources of growth in emissions—especially of nitrous oxide (NO2) and methane (CH4)—are livestock, chemical fertilizers, rice farming, and biomass burn-ing (3). NO2 and CH4 emissions in Sub-Saharan Africa are driven primarily by agriculture and are projected to steadily increase (20). As domestic and international demand for agricultural prod-ucts continues to increase, emissions from Ghana’s agricultural sector will likely increase as well.

Author: 
de Pinto, Alessandro
Demirag, Ulaç
Haruna, Akiko
Koo, Jawoo
Asamoah, Marian
Published date: 
2012
Publisher: 
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Series number: 
3
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