Impacts on agriculture and adaptation to climate change

Contributions: Noragric (WP Leader: Berg), UiO, collaborating institutes in Subequatorial Africa
Main purpose: Estimate impacts on productivity in agriculture based on input from WP2, e.g. irrigation scheme, changes in land use
Rainfall and temperature affect crop production in various ways; amounts of water available for irrigation may change and yield potential in rainfed agriculture will be affected if amounts and/or distribution of rainfall are changed. In most of Africa the agricultural sector produces less than what it could because available water resources are not fully used for irrigation. Most small scale farmers use suboptimal methods in terms of inputs and farming practices. The difference between actual and attainable yield is called the yield gap. With combination of project data on rainfall and soil moisture change and information provided by local partners on current irrigation schemes, we will estimate effects on current or planned extensions of irrigated agriculture. Rainfed agriculture is vulnerable to irregularities in rainfall patterns. Adaptation includes conservation farming and soil & water conservation methods. If change exceeds what can be compensated for by such adaptation, farmers will have to switch to more short season or drought resistant crops (different crop species and/or different varieties of the same crops) which means switching to crops with a lower yield potential. Both require capacity within local agricultural research and extension services in providing assistance to farmers. By means of project data on rainfall change and information from local partners, the project will discuss whether the needed capacity to adapt to projected changes exist and estimate change of yield potentials that will be the consequence of needed adaptation in cropping system. Increasing temperature in itself will have little impact on C4 plants (maize, sorghum, sugar cane, tropical grasses), but will reduce yield potential of C3 plants (legumes, most root crops, tree crops etc.). Project data will be used to quantify temperature-impacts on yield potentials of important crops in the region.

Activities and milestones:

3.1 Description of irrigation schemes and analyses of change in potentials for further development of irrigated agriculture-based on input from WP2
3.2 Estimates of impacts on productivity and yield potentials in agriculture
3.3 Outline of alternative agricultural practice schemes according to the climate and water resources changing scenarios including capacity among farmers and agricultural support systems to adapt to the projected change.

Published Jan. 13, 2011 1:07 PM - Last modified Jan. 13, 2011 1:07 PM