Climate change and South Africa’s commercial farms: an assessment of impacts on specialised horticulture, crop, livestock and mixed farming systems
- 918 Downloads
South Africa, a main food exporter in SADC, is characterised by a dual agricultural economy consisting of a well-developed commercial sector and smallholder, often subsistence, farming. Using the Ricardian cross-sectional framework, we examine the impact of climate change on a nationwide sample of crop, horticulture, livestock and mixed commercial farming systems. We find that a simultaneous decrease in precipitation and an increase in temperature will reduce productivity; and that an increase in temperature alone negatively affects farm output more than a decrease in precipitation. One of the most robust findings is the difference in the extent to which different commercial production systems will be impacted. That is, the results indicate that the strongest impact will be amongst specialised commercial crop farming system. In contrast, mixed farming systems appear to be the least vulnerable. This finding is consistent with studies on small-holder farms in sub-Saharan Africa. Hence, it appears that despite the likely benefits derived from economies of scale, commercial farms are, somewhat, equally vulnerable to climate change. Further, a province-wise assessment revealed that areas that already face disadvantageous climatic conditions will become even less productive. Overall, the findings suggest that practicing mixed farming methods will strengthen the resilience of commercial farms to climate change and that access to extensions—insurance and irrigation—is likely to reduce the risks.
KeywordsClimate change Commercial farmers Horticultural farming Crop farming Livestock farming Mixed farming South Africa
The current study is part of a larger study funded and commissioned by the Fiscal and Financial Commission (FFC) and executed jointly by Environmental Policy and Research Unit (EPRU) and Anchor Environmental Consultant. In addition, we gratefully acknowledge helpful comments from numerous participants at the 5th annual Environment for Development (EfD) meeting.
- Adger, W. N. (2010). Social capital, collective action, and adaptation to climate change. In Der klimawandel (pp. 327–345). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.Google Scholar
- Angrist, J. D., & Pischke, J. S. (2008b). Mostly harmless econometrics: An empiricist’s companion. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Below, T., Artner, A., Siebert, R., & Sieber, S. (2010). Micro-level practices to adapt to climate change for African small-scale farmers. International Food Policy Research Institute Discussion Paper, 953.Google Scholar
- Blignaut, J., Ueckermann, L., & Aronson, J. (2009). Agriculture production’s sensitivity to changes in climate in South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 105(1 & 2), 61–68.Google Scholar
- DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) (2011a). ‘South Africa’s Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’, [Available at] http://www.unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/zafnco2.pdf.
- DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) (2011b). National Climate Change Response White Paper, [Available at] http://www.sanbi.org/sites/default/files/documents/documents/national-climate-change-response-white-paper.pdf.
- Di Falco, S., & Bulte, E. (2009). Social capital and weather shocks in Ethiopia: Climate change and culturally-induced poverty traps. London: London School of Economics.Google Scholar
- Durand, W. (2006). Assessing the impact of climate change on crop water use in South Africa, CEEPA Discussion Paper No. 28, Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa, University of Pretoria, South Africa.Google Scholar
- FAO. (2003). National report: South Africa. Agricultural and Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Roles of Agriculture Project, International Conference 20–22 October, Rome.Google Scholar
- FAO. (2008). Climate Change and Food Security: A Framework Document, [Available at] http://www.fao.org/forestry/15538-079b31d45081fe9c3dbc6ff34de4807e4.pdf.
- FAO. (2014). The state of food and agriculture. Rome: Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).Google Scholar
- Field, E. & Torero, M. (2006). Do property rights increase credit access among the poor? Evidence from a nationwide titling program. [Online: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/files/faculty/18_FieldTorerocs.pdf. Accessed 12 Oct 2010.
- Goldstein, M. & Udry, C. (2006). The profits of power: Land rights and agricultural investment in Ghana. Economic Growth Center Working Paper 929. New Haven, CT: Yale University.Google Scholar
- Hall, R. (2009). 5 Dynamics in the commercial farming sector. Another, 121, 120.Google Scholar
- Hassan, R., & Nhemachena, C. (2008). Determinants of African farmers’ strategies for adapting to climate change: Multinomial choice analysis. African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 2(1), 83–104.Google Scholar
- Helliker, K. (2013). Reproducing white commercial agriculture in South Africa. The promise of land: Undoing a century of dispossession in South Africa. http://www.ru.ac.za/media/rhodesuniversity/content/sociology/documents/White%20commercial%20farms%20K%20Helliker%20seminar%20paper.doc.
- IPCC. (2014). Climate change 2014: Impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Intergovernmental panel on climate change. Working Group II.Google Scholar
- Kaldor, D. R. (1967). Increasing understanding of public problems and policies. In Policy for commercial agriculture (pp. 59–74). Farm Foundation.Google Scholar
- Kurukulasuriya, P., & Mendelsohn, R. O. (2007). Endogenous irrigation: The impact of climate change on farmers in Africa. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, (4278).Google Scholar
- Kurukulasuriya, P., & Mendelsohn, R. (2008). A Ricardian analysis of the impact of climate change on African cropland. African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 2(1), 1–23.Google Scholar
- Kurukulasuriya, P., & Rosenthal, S. (2013). Climate change and agriculture: A review of impacts and adaptations. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 91, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- Maddison, D. J. (2007). The perception of and adaptation to climate change in Africa. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, (4308).Google Scholar
- Mano, R., & Nhemachena, C. (2006). Assessment of the economic impacts of climate change on agriculture in Zimbabwe: A Ricardian approach CEEPA DP11. Pretoria: University of Pretoria.Google Scholar
- McConnell, D. J., & Dillon, J. L. (1997). Farm management for Asia: A systems approach (No. 13). Rome: Food & Agriculture Organisation.Google Scholar
- Mendelsohn, R., & Nordhaus, W. (1996). The impact of global warming on agriculture: Reply. American Economic Review, 86, 1312–1315.Google Scholar
- Mendelsohn, R., Nordhaus, W. D., & Shaw, D. (1994). The impact of global warming on agriculture: A Ricardian analysis. The American Economic Review, 84(4), 753–771.Google Scholar
- Molua, E. L., & Lambi, C. M. (2006). The economic impact of climate change on agriculture in Cameroon, CEEPA Discussion Paper. Pretoria: Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa, University of Pretoria.Google Scholar
- Nelson, G. C., Rosegrant, M. W., Koo, J., Robertson, R., Sulser, T., Zhu, T., & Magalhaes, M. (2010). The costs of agricultural adaptation to climate change. Development and Climate Change Discussion Paper, 4.Google Scholar
- Nhemachena, C., & Hassan, R. (2007). Micro-level analysis of farmers adaption to climate change in Southern Africa. IFRI discussion paper no. 00714. Washington DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.Google Scholar
- Nhemachena, C., Hassan, R., & Chikwizira, J. (2010). Economic impacts of climate change on agriculture and implications for food security in Southern Africa. Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA): Pretoria.Google Scholar
- Nyikai, R. A. (2003). Commercial and subsistence Farming: What is the future for smallholder Kenyan agriculture. In African Crop Science Conference Proceedings (Vol. 6, pp. 591–596).Google Scholar
- Ouedraogo, M., Some, L., & Dembele, Y. (2006). Economic impact assessment of climate change on agriculture in Burkina Faso: A Ricardian approach. Pretoria: Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA), University of Pretoria.Google Scholar
- Schulze, R. (2010). Atlas of climate change and the South African agricultural sector: A 2010 perspective. Pretoria: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.Google Scholar
- Seo, S. N., & Mendelsohn, R. O. (2007). Climate change impacts on animal husbandry in Africa: A Ricardian analysis. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, (4261).Google Scholar
- Seo, S. N., & Mendelsohn, R. (2008b). Measuring impacts and adaptations to climate change: A structural Ricardian model of African livestock management1. Agricultural Economics, 38(2), 151–165.Google Scholar
- Seo, S. N., & Mendelsohn, R. (2008c). A Ricardian analysis of the impact of climate change on South American farms. Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research, 68(1), 69–79.Google Scholar
- Stats, S. A. (2007). Census of Commercial Agriculture 2007. http://www.nda.agric.za/docs/statsinfo/Censcoagric2007.pdf.
- Tibesigwa, B., & Visser, M. (2015). Small-scale subsistence farming, food security, climate change and adaptation in South Africa: Male–Female headed households and Urban–Rural Nexus. ERSA working paper 527.Google Scholar
- Tibesigwa, B., Visser, M., Collinson, M., & Twine, W. (2015b). Investigating the sensitivity of household food security to agriculture-related shocks and the implication of social and natural capital. Sustainability Science, 1–22.Google Scholar
- Tibesigwa, B., Visser, M., Hunter, L., Collinson, M., & Twine, W. (2015c). Gender Differences in Climate Change Risk, Food Security and Adaptation: A Study of Rural Households’ Reliance on Agriculture and Natural Resources to Sustain Livelihoods (No. 545).Tibesigwa, B., & Visser, M. (2015). Small-scale Subsistence Farming, Food Security, Climate Change and Adaptation in South Africa: Male-Female Headed Households and Urban-Rural Nexus. ERSA working paper 527.Google Scholar
- Turpie, J., Winkler, H., Spalding-Flecher, R., et al. (2002). Economic impacts of climate change in South Africa: A preliminary analysis of unmitigated damage costs. Cape Town: Southern Waters Ecological Research and Consulting and Energy Development Research Centre, University of Cape Town.Google Scholar
- Wooldridge, J. M. (2001). Econometrics analysis of cross section and panel data. London, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
- World Bank. (2008). World development report 2008: Agriculture for development. Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar