The Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) brings together international organizations, NGOs, and scientists to discuss, share, and build upon their research around the future of global agricultural. Recently, GFAR highlighted research presented at the Global Landscapes Forum that sheds light on climate changes soon to affect Africa.
In a panel entitled “The good, the bad and the ugly: Climate change’s potential impact on farmers in Africa,” researchers commissioned by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) shared their findings about the climate futures of East, West, and Southern Africa. Using geographic, economic, and biophysical data researchers created a comprehensive model of how climate change will affect these regions, and what those effects will mean for agriculture, resources, and regional food security.
Their conclusions were threefold. Some “good” areas would be affected positively by climate change, and landscapes would become more productive. Other “bad” areas would be negatively affected by climate change, and landscapes would become less productive. Finally, the “ugly” has the potential to occur if newly productive and unproductive landscapes cause migration and land grabs by people and countries struggling to feed themselves.
Each of the studies provided the same recommendations to keep farmers a step ahead of the changing climate. First, more localized research must be conducted to create innovative strategies for specific regions. Second, governments should integrate climate change preparedness into their national agriculture policies. Lastly, policy makers must reach out to farmers to provide guidance and training as agricultural livelihoods are increasingly threatened.
GFAR supports these recommendations and reports that “the need to find crops better suited for the good climate, the investments in the development of new animal varieties, water management strategies, [and the] adjustment of regional trade policies require significant money and time.” The organization has called upon policy makers to act urgently to secure Africa’s food future.