Climate Risks and Trends in Eastern and Southern Africa
Agricultural production in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) is broadly characterised by high climate risks. Rainfall is variable in timing, amount, and intensity. Both drought and flooding are common. These challenges are magnified by the fact that the majority of farmers in this region face severe poverty, resource constraints, and food insecurity. More than 90% of these farmers are dependent on rainfed production. The rise in global greenhouse gases appears to be increasing these climate risks.
This paper briefly summarises available information on current climate risks in ESA, and then shows how these risks are expected to worsen by the middle and end of the century. It discusses the implications of these changing risks for agricultural investment and for prioritising the pursuit of more climate smart agricultural systems. A key theme underlying this discussion is that a better understanding of, and response to, current climate risks will provide a strong foundation for improving resilience to climate change in the future.
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