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Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 753–765 | Cite as

Climate change/variability and food systems: evidence from the Afram Plains, Ghana

  • Samuel Nii Ardey CodjoeEmail author
  • George Owusu
Original Article

Abstract

While there are many studies of the impacts of climate change and variability on food production, few studies are devoted to a comprehensive assessment of impacts on food systems. Results of a survey of food systems and household adaptation strategies in three communities in the Afram Plains, Ghana, reveal how extreme climatic events affect rural food production, transportation, processing and storage. Adaptation strategies implemented by the three communities during past droughts serve as a foundation for planning responses to future climate change. Results of this study suggest that food security in this region—where droughts and floods are expected to become more severe due to climate change—could be enhanced by increasing farm-based storage facilities; improving the transportation system, especially feeder roads that link food production areas and major markets; providing farmers with early warning systems; extending credit to farmers; and the use of supplementary irrigation. This study also indicates that some cultural practices, particularly those that prohibit the consumption of certain foods, may reduce the resilience of some individuals and ethnic groups to food system disruptions. Understanding the local context and the responses of households is critical to the development of effective strategies for reducing the potential adverse impacts of climatic change on food security in rural Ghana.

Keywords

Climate change Climate variability Food systems Vulnerability Adaptation Ghana 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) for providing funds for the Food Security and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Afram Plains Project (# CCP 07 08). Further support from the Climate Change and Learning Observatory Network in Ghana Project (EEM-A-00-66-00014) sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development is also acknowledged. We are also grateful to Petra Tschakert of the Penn State University, Regina Sagoe, Lucy Atidoh, Gifty Ofori-Darko, and Kirk Anderson, of the Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana for assisting with data collection. We also want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the anonymous reviewers, Dr. Virginia Burkett of the United States Geological Survey, and the Editor-in-Chief for their useful and constructive suggestions, which has greatly enhanced the quality of this paper.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Regional Institute for Population StudiesUniversity of GhanaLegonGhana
  2. 2.Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic ResearchUniversity of GhanaLegonGhana

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