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Shiferaw B.,Partnership for Economic Policy PEP | Tesfaye K.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center | Kassie M.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center | Abate T.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center | And 2 more authors.
Weather and Climate Extremes | Year: 2014

Agriculture and the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are highly sensitive to climatic variability. Drought, in particular, represents one of the most important natural factors contributing to malnutrition and famine in many parts of the region. The overall impact of drought on a given country/region and its ability to recover from the resulting social, economic and environmental impacts depends on several factors. The economic, social and environmental impacts of drought are huge in SSA and the national costs and losses incurred threaten to undermine the wider economic and development gains made in the last few decades in the region. There is an urgent need to reduce the vulnerability of countries to climate variability and to the threats posed by climate change. This paper attempts to highlight the challenges of drought in SSA and reviews the current drought risk management strategies, especially the promising technological and policy options for managing drought risks to protect livelihoods and reduce vulnerability. The review suggests the possibilities of several ex ante and ex post drought management strategies in SSA although their effectiveness depends on agro-climatic and socio-economic conditions. Existing technological, policy and institutional risk management measures need to be strengthened and integrated to manage drought ex ante and to minimize the ex post negative effects for vulnerable households and regions. A proactive approach that combines promising technological, institutional and policy solutions to manage the risks within vulnerable communities implemented by institutions operating at different levels (community, sub-national, and national) is considered to be the way forward for managing drought and climate variability. © 2014 The Authors.

Ndiritu S.W.,Strathmore Business School | Kassie M.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center | Shiferaw B.,Partnership for Economic Policy PEP
Food Policy | Year: 2014

This paper uses sex-disaggregated survey data at the plot level to test whether there are systematic gender differences in the adoption of multiple sustainable intensification practices (SIPs) in Kenya. We analyze plot level adoption decisions of SIPs by male, female or joint plot managers within the household, controlling for household characteristics, asset wealth and land quality factors that condition investments in intensification options. Using a multivariate probit model, we find gender differences in the adoption pattern for some SIPs. Compared to male plot mangers, female managers are less likely to adopt minimum tillage and animal manure in crop production, indicating the existence of certain socioeconomic inequalities and barriers for female farmers. However, we find no gender differences in the adoption of soil and water conservation measures, improved seed varieties, chemical fertilizers, maize-legume intercropping, and maize-legume rotations. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Chung U.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center | Gbegbelegbe S.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center | Shiferaw B.,Partnership for Economic Policy PEP | Robertson R.,International Food Policy Research Institute | And 4 more authors.
Weather and Climate Extremes | Year: 2014

This study uses geo-spatial crop modeling to quantify the biophysical impact of weather extremes. More specifically, the study analyzes the weather extreme which affected maize production in the USA in 2012; it also estimates the effect of a similar weather extreme in 2050, using future climate scenarios. The secondary impact of the weather extreme on food security in the developing world is also assessed using trend analysis.Many studies have reported on the significant reduction in maize production in the USA due to the extreme weather event (combined heat wave and drought) that occurred in 2012. However, most of these studies focused on yield and did not assess the potential effect of weather extremes on food prices and security. The overall goal of this study was to use geo-spatial crop modeling and trend analysis to quantify the impact of weather extremes on both yield and, followed food security in the developing world.We used historical weather data for severe extreme events that have occurred in the USA. The data were obtained from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In addition we used five climate scenarios: the baseline climate which is typical of the late 20th century (2000s) and four future climate scenarios which involve a combination of two emission scenarios (A1B and B1) and two global circulation models (CSIRO-Mk3.0 and MIROC 3.2). DSSAT 4.5 was combined with GRASS GIS for geo-spatial crop modeling. Simulated maize grain yield across all affected regions in the USA indicates that average grain yield across the USA Corn Belt would decrease by 29% when the weather extremes occur using the baseline climate. If the weather extreme were to occur under the A1B emission scenario in the 2050s respectively, average grain yields would decrease by 38% and 57%, under the CSIRO-Mk3.0 and MIROC 3.2 global climate models, respectively.The weather extremes that occurred in the USA in 2012 resulted in a sharp increase in the world maize price. In addition, it likely played a role in the reduction in world maize consumption and trade in 2012/13, compared to 2011/12. The most vulnerable countries to the weather extremes are poor countries with high maize import dependency ratios including those countries in the Caribbean, northern Africa and western Asia. Other vulnerable countries include low-income countries with low import dependency ratios but which cannot afford highly-priced maize. The study also highlighted the pathways through which a weather extreme would affect food security, were it to occur in 2050 under climate change.Some of the policies which could help vulnerable countries counter the negative effects of weather extremes consist of social protection and safety net programs. Medium- to long-term adaptation strategies include increasing world food reserves to a level where they can be used to cover the production losses brought by weather extremes. © 2014 The Authors.

Shiferaw B.,Partnership for Economic Policy PEP | Kebede T.,Institute for Applied International Studies | Kassie M.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center | Fisher M.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
Agricultural Economics (United Kingdom) | Year: 2015

Limited empirical evidence exists on how multiple binding constraints influence the adoption of improved technologies by smallholder farmers. This article uses the case of groundnut variety adoption in Uganda to investigate the role of information, seed supply, and credit constraints in conditioning technology uptake. New data from a household survey in seven groundnut growing districts (n = 945) indicate that 8% of farmers lack information on new varieties, while 18% and 6% of farmers, respectively, cannot adopt mainly due to seed supply and capital constraints. A tobit-type specification that considers all nonadopters as being uninterested in the technology (i.e., corner solutions) would lead to inconsistent parameter estimates and incorrect conclusions in this context. We therefore estimate a modified multi-hurdle specification of demand for new varieties, taking into account how information, seed supply, and capital constraints jointly determine adoption probability and intensity. The study reveals new empirical insights on why agricultural technology adoption in Africa has lagged behind: slow uptake is not mainly due to a lack of economic incentives, but rather a reflection of information, seed supply, and credit constraints that prevent farmers from translating their desired demand into adoption of modern varieties. Policy implications are discussed. © 2015 International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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