Climatic Change

, Volume 83, Issue 3, pp 381–399 | Cite as

Assessing the vulnerability of food crop systems in Africa to climate change

  • Andrew Challinor
  • Tim Wheeler
  • Chris Garforth
  • Peter Craufurd
  • Amir Kassam
Article

Abstract

Africa is thought to be the region most vulnerable to the impacts of climate variability and change. Agriculture plays a dominant role in supporting rural livelihoods and economic growth over most of Africa. Three aspects of the vulnerability of food crop systems to climate change in Africa are discussed: the assessment of the sensitivity of crops to variability in climate, the adaptive capacity of farmers, and the role of institutions in adapting to climate change. The magnitude of projected impacts of climate change on food crops in Africa varies widely among different studies. These differences arise from the variety of climate and crop models used, and the different techniques used to match the scale of climate model output to that needed by crop models. Most studies show a negative impact of climate change on crop productivity in Africa. Farmers have proved highly adaptable in the past to short- and long-term variations in climate and in their environment. Key to the ability of farmers to adapt to climate variability and change will be access to relevant knowledge and information. It is important that governments put in place institutional and macro-economic conditions that support and facilitate adaptation and resilience to climate change at local, national and transnational level.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Challinor
    • 2
  • Tim Wheeler
    • 1
  • Chris Garforth
    • 1
  • Peter Craufurd
    • 1
  • Amir Kassam
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Agriculture, Policy and DevelopmentThe University of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.NERC Centre for Global Atmospheric Modelling, Department of MeteorologyThe University of ReadingReadingUK

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