CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change

Copenhagen, Denmark

CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change

Copenhagen, Denmark
SEARCH FILTERS
Time filter
Source Type

Khoury C.K.,Wageningen University | Bjorkman A.D.,University of British Columbia | Dempewolf H.,University of British Columbia | Dempewolf H.,Global Crop Diversity Trust | And 7 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2014

The narrowing of diversity in crop species contributing to the world's food supplies has been considered a potential threat to food security. However, changes in this diversity have not been quantified globally. We assess trends over the past 50 y in the richness, abundance, and composition of crop species in national food supplies worldwide. Over this period, national per capita food supplies expanded in total quantities of food calories, protein, fat, and weight, with increased proportions of those quantities sourcing from energy-dense foods. At the same time the number of measured crop commodities contributing to national food supplies increased, the relative contribution of these commodities within these supplies became more even, and the dominance of the most significant commodities decreased. As a consequence, national food supplies worldwide became more similar in composition, correlated particularly with an increased supply of a number of globally important cereal and oil crops, and a decline of other cereal, oil, and starchy root species. The increase in homogeneity worldwide portends the establishment of a global standard food supply, which is relatively species-rich in regard to measured crops at the national level, but species-poor globally. These changes in food supplies heighten interdependence among countries in regard to availability and access to these food sources and the genetic resources supporting their production, and give further urgency to nutrition development priorities aimed at bolstering food security.


News Article | March 8, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

One of the sectors most affected by climate change is agriculture, as increasing temperatures may lead to crop failure. A new study says that without immediate action to assist farmers in adapting and adjusting to the effects of climate change, it will become difficult for them to grow crops in some parts of Africa. In the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers from the University of Leeds investigated how climate change will impact nine crops mostly planted in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The researchers found that about 30 percent of areas where staple crops such as bananas and maize grow could become unviable by the end of this century. About 60 percent of land areas producing beans could also become useless in the near future as a result of the increasing global temperature. In some areas, transformation is needed to prevent the drying up of lands by as early as 2025. Out of the nine crops, six crops - groundnut, pearl millet, cassava, finger millet, yam and sorghum - are expected to remain stable even after extreme climate change situations in the future. "This study tells where, and crucially when, interventions need to be made to stop climate change destroying vital food supplies in Africa," said lead author Julian Ramirez-Villegas of the University of Leeds and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. Transformation should be implemented to help farmers adjust to climate change. This includes changing the type of crop grown in specific areas affected and improving irrigation systems. In some areas were extreme scenarios are predicted, the land may not support agriculture any longer. Andy Challinor, the study's co-author and a professor at the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, says that flexibility in agriculture is a necessary response to climate change. "This study shows where and when transformations will be needed," he says. Though the study predicts these changes by the end of the century, global warming is slowly taking a toll on lands used for growing crops. Unless immediate actions will be taken, Africa is expected to lose some crops in its lands in the next decade.


News Article | March 7, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Without action to help farmers adjust to changing climate conditions, it will become impossible to grow some staple food crops in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, with maize, beans and bananas most at risk, researchers said on Monday. In a study of how global warming will affect nine crops that make up half the region's food production, scientists found that up to 30 percent of areas growing maize and bananas, and up to 60 percent of those producing beans could become unviable by the end of the century. Six of the nine crops - cassava, groundnut, pearl millet, finger millet, sorghum and yam - are projected to remain stable under moderate and extreme climate change scenarios. "This study tells where, and crucially when, interventions need to be made to stop climate change destroying vital food supplies in Africa," said Julian Ramirez-Villegas, the study's lead author who works with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). "We know what needs to be done, and for the first time, we now have deadlines for taking action,” he added in a statement. For example, the study warns that around 40 percent of maize-growing areas will require "transformation", which could mean changing the type of crop grown, or in extreme cases even abandoning crop farming. Sorghum and millet, which have higher tolerance to drought and heat, could replace maize in most places under threat. But for 0.5 percent of maize-growing areas - equal to 0.8 million hectares in South Africa that now produce 2.7 million tonnes - there is no viable crop substitution, the study said. In a few places, the need to adapt to climate change is already urgent, the researchers said. Those include pockets in highly climate-exposed areas of the Sahel in Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Niger. Banana-growing regions of West Africa, including areas in Ghana and Benin, will need to act within the next decade, as the land is expected to become unsuitable for bananas by 2025. And maize-growing areas of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Tanzania also have less than 10 years left to change tack under the most extreme climate change scenarios, the study added. "If we don't do anything now, farmers are no longer going to be able to grow certain crops in certain sites," Ramirez-Villegas told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Colombia. "But we know there are several adaptation options ... with which farmers should be able to carry on growing these crops for a longer period of time than we project." Those options begin with shorter-term actions like improving irrigation and weather information services for farmers, and developing new varieties of maize and beans that can better tolerate heat and drought. Such measures are already underway in parts of Africa, including the "Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa" initiative that has released 160 varieties, benefiting up to 40 million people in 13 countries. But governments will still need to re-assess agricultural and food security policies to see whether bigger transformations are needed, such as switching to different crops or livestock. If so, they will need to help farmers access markets or build processing and storage facilities for new crops. CCAFS researcher Andy Jarvis, a co-author of the paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change, noted adjusting national policies can take decades. "Our findings show that time is running out to transform African agriculture. This will require not only increased funding but also a supportive policy environment to bring the needed solutions to those affected," he said. A separate study released on Monday, by researchers from Brown and Tufts universities, suggested scientists have overlooked how two important human responses to climate will impact food production in the future: how much land people choose to farm, and the number of crops they plant. Looking at Mato Grosso, a key soy-producing state in Brazil, they found a temperature rise of 1 degree Celsius was tied to substantial decreases in crop area and double cropping, accounting for 70 percent of the overall loss in production. Only 30 percent was attributable to falling crop yield.


News Article | March 7, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

The carcass of a cow lies in a field in Disaneng village outside Mafikeng, South Africa, January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sydney Seshibedi More BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Without action to help farmers adjust to changing climate conditions, it will become impossible to grow some staple food crops in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, with maize, beans and bananas most at risk, researchers said on Monday. In a study of how global warming will affect nine crops that make up half the region's food production, scientists found that up to 30 percent of areas growing maize and bananas, and up to 60 percent of those producing beans could become unviable by the end of the century. Six of the nine crops - cassava, groundnut, pearl millet, finger millet, sorghum and yam - are projected to remain stable under moderate and extreme climate change scenarios. "This study tells where, and crucially when, interventions need to be made to stop climate change destroying vital food supplies in Africa," said Julian Ramirez-Villegas, the study's lead author who works with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). "We know what needs to be done, and for the first time, we now have deadlines for taking action,” he added in a statement. For example, the study warns that around 40 percent of maize-growing areas will require "transformation", which could mean changing the type of crop grown, or in extreme cases even abandoning crop farming. Sorghum and millet, which have higher tolerance to drought and heat, could replace maize in most places under threat. But for 0.5 percent of maize-growing areas - equal to 0.8 million hectares in South Africa that now produce 2.7 million tonnes - there is no viable crop substitution, the study said. In a few places, the need to adapt to climate change is already urgent, the researchers said. Those include pockets in highly climate-exposed areas of the Sahel in Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Niger. Banana-growing regions of West Africa, including areas in Ghana and Benin, will need to act within the next decade, as the land is expected to become unsuitable for bananas by 2025. And maize-growing areas of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Tanzania also have less than 10 years left to change tack under the most extreme climate change scenarios, the study added. "If we don't do anything now, farmers are no longer going to be able to grow certain crops in certain sites," Ramirez-Villegas told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Colombia. "But we know there are several adaptation options ... with which farmers should be able to carry on growing these crops for a longer period of time than we project." Those options begin with shorter-term actions like improving irrigation and weather information services for farmers, and developing new varieties of maize and beans that can better tolerate heat and drought. Such measures are already underway in parts of Africa, including the "Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa" initiative that has released 160 varieties, benefiting up to 40 million people in 13 countries. But governments will still need to re-assess agricultural and food security policies to see whether bigger transformations are needed, such as switching to different crops or livestock. If so, they will need to help farmers access markets or build processing and storage facilities for new crops. CCAFS researcher Andy Jarvis, a co-author of the paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change, noted adjusting national policies can take decades. "Our findings show that time is running out to transform African agriculture. This will require not only increased funding but also a supportive policy environment to bring the needed solutions to those affected," he said. A separate study released on Monday, by researchers from Brown and Tufts universities, suggested scientists have overlooked how two important human responses to climate will impact food production in the future: how much land people choose to farm, and the number of crops they plant. Looking at Mato Grosso, a key soy-producing state in Brazil, they found a temperature rise of 1 degree Celsius was tied to substantial decreases in crop area and double cropping, accounting for 70 percent of the overall loss in production. Only 30 percent was attributable to falling crop yield.


News Article | March 23, 2016
Site: www.reuters.com

In truth, the farmer from Gavu, a village in arid Hwange District, about 450 km north of Bulawayo, can't control the weather. But he can predict it fairly accurately. Using a well-worn record book, a green plastic rain gauge, and a mobile phone on which he receives climate-related information via SMS, Tshuma makes farming decisions based on the weather patterns in his area, including when to plant, how to till the soil and how much fertilizer to apply. Tshuma is one of a thousand small-scale farmers in southern Zimbabwe benefiting from a project called Climate Smart Agriculture: Combating the El Niño Phenomenon. Launched in Jambezi ward in 2013, the project is part of the nation's plan to manage threats such as droughts by strengthening systems to provide early warnings about risks to agriculture from climate change and related weather problems. Bringing together the Ministry of Agriculture's Department of Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (AGRITEX), the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), and local telecommunications services provider ECONET, the project teaches farmers to use weather-monitoring techniques and climate-smart agriculture practices to maintain food security in rain-scarce parts of the country. Last season, Tshuma and his wife Simnai harvested 1.5 tonnes of millet, one tonne of sorghum, and a quarter tonne of groundnuts. This season he expects to harvest four tonnes of millet and nearly 2.5 tonnes of sorghum, despite a drought that has slashed neighbors' maize harvests. "This year … I have done so much better in my fields than some of my neighbors that some people say I am irrigating my crops or I have goblins who work magic. But that is not true,” Tshuma said. With $30,000 of funding from ICRISAT, the project teaches techniques to help farmers improve their harvests while cutting their costs. Those includes mulching fields to save water, planting crops in dug-out basins filled with manure, planting different types of crops together in a field and using fertilizer in small doses just where it is needed. It also aims to convince farmers to swap their traditional crops for more drought-tolerant ones, no easy feat in a region where maize is a diet staple. "Sorghum and millet are not only climate smart but nutritionally smart. We call them smart foods because they are good for us, good for the environment and good for smallholder farmers to manage climate change, diversify their income and increase their profitability," said David Bergvinson, ICRISAT’s director general. Switching to more resilient crops is crucial because “climate change is hitting us hard and fast,” he said. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, climate-smart agriculture can help farmers produce more and become more resilient to shocks, boosting food security even as climate change-related extreme weather strengthens. The practices and techniques the project promotes are part of Zimbabwe’s plan to deal with climate change, submitted as part of a new global climate deal agreed in Paris last December. The current El Niño-induced drought in Zimbabwe is one of the worst the country has seen in a quarter century. More than 3 million Zimbabweans are facing hunger due to a maize shortfall of more than 1 million tonnes, about half of what the country requires each year. Zimbabwe has been forced to declare a state of national disaster and is appealing for $1.6 billion in food aid. A recent study by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security says global warming will continue to affect staple food crops like bananas, maize and beans in sub-Saharan Africa unless farmers learn to adapt. According to the study, 30 percent of sub-Saharan Africa's maize-growing areas, including in Zimbabwe, need to switch to different crops within the next decade. "Climate change is reducing the viability of maize production and, increasingly, we are envisaging that semi-arid regions of Zimbabwe could only be growing drought-tolerant grains in the near future," Danisile Hikwa, principal director of the agriculture ministry's Department of Research and Specialist Services, told farmers in Hwange District recently. In Gavu, Tshuma has already seen the benefits of changing what and how he farms. After joining the agriculture adaptation project when it first started three years ago, he now earns an average of $300 per season from selling his farm crops once he has fed his family. He has cut back on growing maize and now harvests enough sorghum and millet to sell to his neighbors and to a Jambezi small grain processing plant, run by an association of farmers that grow, process, and markets products made from drought-tolerant crops. Tshuma is so convinced about the need to adapt that he is mentoring 20 farmers through one of 50 climate field schools run jointly by ICRISAT and AGRITEX in Hwange District. He admits some of his neighbors have been reluctant to adopt the changes, particularly the labor involved in digging basins. But his success is winning them over, he said. "Millet and sorghum are the crops for survival in this time of drought," he said. "Farmers have to work hard to survive - it is not magic."


Khoury C.K.,Aereo | Khoury C.K.,Wageningen University | Bjorkman A.D.,University of British Columbia | Dempewolf H.,University of British Columbia | And 10 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2014

The narrowing of diversity in crop species contributing to the world's food supplies has been considered a potential threat to food security. However, changes in this diversity have not been quantified globally. We assess trends over the past 50 y in the richness, abundance, and composition of crop species in national food supplies worldwide. Over this period, national per capita food supplies expanded in total quantities of food calories, protein, fat, and weight, with increased proportions of those quantities sourcing from energy-dense foods. At the same time the number of measured crop commodities contributing to national food supplies increased, the relative contribution of these commodities within these supplies became more even, and the dominance of the most significant commodities decreased. As a consequence, national food supplies worldwide became more similar in composition, correlated particularly with an increased supply of a number of globally important cereal and oil crops, and a decline of other cereal, oil, and starchy root species. The increase in homogeneity worldwide portends the establishment of a global standard food supply, which is relatively species-rich in regard to measured crops at the national level, but species-poor globally. These changes in food supplies heighten interdependence among countries in regard to availability and access to these food sources and the genetic resources supporting their production, and give further urgency to nutrition development priorities aimed at bolstering food security.


Ramirez-Villegas J.,International Center for Tropical Agriculture | Ramirez-Villegas J.,CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change | Ramirez-Villegas J.,University of Leeds | Challinor A.,CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change | Challinor A.,University of Leeds
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology | Year: 2012

Climate change is expected to substantially reduce agricultural yields, as reported in the by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In Sub-Saharan Africa and (to a lesser extent) in South Asia, limited data availability and institutional networking constrain agricultural research and development. Here we performed a review of relevant aspects in relation to coupling agriculture-climate predictions, and a three-step analysis of the importance of climate data for agricultural impact assessment. First, using meta-data from the scientific literature we examined trends in the use of climate and weather data in agricultural research, and we found that despite agricultural researchers' preference for field-scale weather data (50.4% of cases in the assembled literature), large-scale datasets coupled with weather generators can be useful in the agricultural context. Using well-known interpolation techniques, we then assessed the sensitivities of the weather station network to the lack of data and found high sensitivities to data loss only over mountainous areas in Nepal and Ethiopia (random removal of data impacted precipitation estimates by ±1300. mm/year and temperature estimates by ±3 °C). Finally, we numerically compared IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (4AR) climate models' representation of mean climates and interannual variability with different observational datasets. Climate models were found inadequate for field-scale agricultural studies in West Africa and South Asia, as their ability to represent mean climates and climate variability was limited: more than 50% of the country-model combinations showed <50% adjustment for annual mean rainfall (mean climates), and there were large rainfall biases in GCM outputs (1000-2500. mm/year), although this varied on a GCM basis (climate variability). Temperature biases were also large for certain areas (5-10 °C in the Himalayas and Sahel). All this is expected to improve with IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report; hence, appropriate usage of even these new climate models is still required. This improved usage entails bias reduction (weighting of climate models or bias-correcting the climate change signals), the implementation of methods to match the spatial scales, and the quantification of uncertainties to the maximum extent possible. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Thornton P.K.,CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change | Thornton P.K.,CSIRO | Herrero M.,CSIRO
Nature Climate Change | Year: 2015

Mixed crop-livestock systems are the backbone of African agriculture, providing food security and livelihood options for hundreds of millions of people. Much is known about the impacts of climate change on the crop enterprises in the mixed systems, and some, although less, on the livestock enterprises. The interactions between crops and livestock can be managed to contribute to environmentally sustainable intensification, diversification and risk management. There is relatively little information on how these interactions may be affected by changes in climate and climate variability. This is a serious gap, because these interactions may offer some buffering capacity to help smallholders adapt to climate change. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.


Thornton P.K.,CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change | Herrero M.,CSIRO
Global Food Security | Year: 2014

Mixed crop-livestock systems produce most of the world's milk and ruminant meat, and are particularly important for the livelihoods and food security of poor people in developing countries. These systems will bear the brunt of helping to satisfy the burgeoning demand for food from increasing populations, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where rural poverty and hunger are already concentrated. The potential impacts of changes in climate and climate variability on these mixed systems are not that well understood, particularly as regards how the food security of vulnerable households may be affected. There are many ways in which the mixed systems may be able to adapt to climate change in the future, including via increased efficiencies of production that sometimes provide important mitigation co-benefits as well. But effective adaptation will require an enabling policy, technical, infrastructural and informational environment, and the development challenge is daunting. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Jones P.G.,Waen Associates | Thornton P.K.,CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2013

We describe a generalised downscaling and data generation method that takes the outputs of a General Circulation Model and allows the stochastic generation of daily weather data that are to some extent characteristic of future climatologies. Such data can then be used to drive any agricultural model that requires daily (or otherwise aggregated) weather data. The method uses an amalgamation of unintelligent empirical downscaling, climate typing and weather generation. We outline a web-based software tool (http://gismap.ciat.cgiar.org/MarkSimGCM) to do this for a subset of the climate models and scenario runs carried out for the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We briefly assess the tool and comment on its use and limitations. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Loading CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change collaborators
Loading CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change collaborators