Food trade in Africa in the context of climate change
The threats of climate change to Africa’s already fragile food systems, compounded by the continent’s low adaptive capacity, are well rehearsed. A projected 20-30 per cent fall in crop yields by 2050, with more severe losses in some regions, will deepen existing problems of erratic food shortages and volatile prices.
Droughts, floods, heat stress and other extreme weather events have devastating effects on food production, while more subtle changes such as sporadic hot and cold spells or incremental temperature increases can be equally detrimental to the quality and quantity of yields.
However, less well documented and scarcely explored by African countries is the fact that climate variability and change have varying effects on crop production; crops that have traditionally performed very well in a specific region may decline while other crops may thrive. Likewise, areas that have seen historically poor yields may become more productive with changes in temperature and rainfall.