How climate change is affecting agriculture in AFRICA

Africa is a continent fully dependent on agriculture. The industry employs 65% of Africa’s labour force and accounts for 32% of the continent’s overall GDP. This means any adverse effect on agriculture is bound to affect the living conditions of people living on the continent.

Recent research presents evidences that world’s climate is changing, in many countries weather inconsistency has being manifested through the frequency of erratic weather conditions. High temperatures leading to prolonged drought have made it near impossible for farmers to plan crop production.

Effect of climate on Agriculture

In the past farmers planned crop production on the traditional knowledge of two planting seasons. The dry season is a season without rains, plant crops which are resistant to drought or make good provision of water for crops use. Raining season however is a period of availability of rain water, Irrigation in this season are usually less compared to dry seasons. Fresh vegetables, legumes e.t.c are planted freely as natural water usually serve as enough water source for the crops.

With climate change however, weather prediction are not so easy. Increased temperature and reduced rains have negatively impacted a number of factors. These include crop types, the scale of the farm operation, the farm’s commercial or subsistence profile, and dependency on natural resources.

Erratic rain conditions also mean rainy seasons can sometimes continue into dry season, and some farmers can fail to utilize this opportunity to plant rain-fed crops.

In situations like these, planning is key to farm’s development. African Farmers should utilize various available platforms to ensure they are abreast of changing weather conditions. These platforms can help predict weather changes and guide farmers on what to plant and when to plant it. For example farmers can get tips on when to grow quick maturing crops, so as to take advantage of a normal rainfall before it escalates.

With Precision farming, technology can be utilized in increasing productivity and reducing losses. Agri-Tech platforms such as ProbityFarms allow farmers to mark their farm and get daily forecasts about weather conditions for such farms. These data can be used to make a plan on what to plant and reduce risks of crop production losses.

For small scale farmers with little or no access to technology, Short SMS can be used as a medium to deliver weather tips and conditions personalized to the type of crop they plant.
Even though weather conditions cannot be controlled, farmers can utilize technology to bridge the gap and ensure top yield.

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