A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change has been described as having the strongest evidence regarding the effects climate change will have on health and food production. The study also provides a 3 phase timescale for making adaptation to the changes in order to minimize the effects they have on the population.
The study found that all of the nine major crops in Sub-Saharan Africa will require some sort of transformation in the 21st century. Six of them will be required to change in about 15% of the areas they are grown. Two of the remaining crops, bananas and maize, will require changes in 30% of the places they are grown. The final crop, beans, will need to be changed in 60% of areas.
The researchers propose a number of ways the areas will need transformation in order to deal with the environment. These changes include adopting climate resilient crops in some areas, switching to another crop which is better suited for the new climate, adopting livestock as an alternative to crops, or in the more extreme cases migrating entirely.
The phases which the researchers propose are designed to overlap in order to maximize the local population’s ability to cope with the changes. The first phases is maximizing the existing crops productivity through management and improvement. The second involves developing policies and enabling the environment to deal with changes. The final stage involves substituting crops that are being affected, changing the method of livelihood, or enabling migration.
Good agricultural productivity is one of the best ways to reduce a region’s poverty rates. Roughly 850 million people around the world are currently undernourished, climate change is projected to intensify this problem if no actions are taken.