High transport and other transaction costs translate into costly inputs and limit access to improved seeds, fertilizers and other inputs
Poorly developed markets for agricultural products lead to low and volatile out prices
Non-tariff barriers reduce intra-and extra-regional trade leading to greater price volatility
Expanding regional markets can serve as a vent for surplus to reduce the thinness of domestic markets and likelihood of price collapse from rising agricultural productivity in absence of wide markets .
Production shortfalls due to extreme weather events
Lower stock levels and market volatility due to changes in policies of the world major cereal producers (USA, China, EU and India)
Steep increases in petroleum prices
Emerging biofuel market demand for some agricultural commodities including sugar, maize, cassava, oilseeds and palm oil
Shifts in consumption patterns due to rapid and sustained economic growth and urbanisation in emerging populous developing economies, China and India with rising demand and consumption of meat and dairy products that are heavily dependant on cereal inputs
Trade policies involving export restrictions and export bans by some countries which aggravated shortages
Speculative re-stocking and pre-stocking by large importers with capacity contributed to higher food prices
The 2008 turmoil in traditional asset markets impacted on food prices as investors hedged their resources in agricultural commodities in the hope of achieving better returns in the hope better returns than those available in tradition assets
As most of these factors have not been fully resolved, food insecurity remain rampant.
Recent rush to secure land for food production from Africa
Rising land prices in developed countries due to food crisis and commodity price increases have increased costs of food production
Demand for land for use in biofuels production has risen, hence the search for low cost lands in developing countries to produce crops for use in biofuels production;
Rising population combined with rise in income per capita increased demand for food in place like China and India are looking elsewhere to meet their food needs (e.g. Dairy, meat, eggs, and horticulture, etc.)
Increased need for secure food supplies particularly by increasing water-constrained countries including those in middle east are acquiring land in Africa
Africa contributes less than 3% of the global greenhouse emissions
Bears disproportionate burden of economic losses, health, human and social consequences of its effects
Severe droughts to occur more frequently especially in dry semi-arid regions like Sahel thereby threatening food security, etc.
Low rainfall and high inter- and intra-seasonal variability of rainfall and lengths of the growing seasons
Rising sea levels will lead to coastal erosion, more floods and storm surges impacting on densely populated coastal settlements and cities;
Decrease in river basin run-offs with less water for agriculture and hydropower generation
Loss due to climate change is estimated to be as high as US$ 133 billions, of which US$ 132 would be from agriculture alone.
Increased migration due to displacements caused by floods, drought and desertification and in search of better livelihoods or evade disasters
Livestock impacts of droughts in Africa 1981-1999 Period Location Livestock losses 1981-1984 Botswana 20% of national herd 1982-1984 Niger 62%of national cattle herd 1983-1984 Ethiopia (Borana Plateau) 45-90% of calves, 45% of cows 1991 Northern Kenya 28% of cattle and 18% of sheep and goats 1991-1993 Ethiopia (Borana) 42% of the cattle 1993 Namibia 22% of cattle and 41% of goats and sheep 1995-1997 Greater Horn of Africa (average of 9 pastoral areas) 22% of cattle and 41% of goats and sheep 1995-1997 Southern Ethiopia 46% of cattle; 41% of goats and sheep 1998-1999 Ethiopia (Borana) 62% of cattle
Measures for adjusting to effects of climate change
Measures to adjust to effects climate change involve:
Production process including delayed planting; shifting into more drought resistant/tolerant crops; shifting the composition of livestock from large animals like cattle to small ruminants that are better tolerate heat; investment in water harvesting and better water management ; and hanging ;and changing land uses
Market approaches including he use of crop and flood insurance and diversification;
Technological innovations including the development of drought and flood tolerant crops and crops with better water use efficiency ; and
Policy intervention including supporting farmers to purchase crop insurance, price stabilisation; strategic grain reserves and use of market hedging instruments
Constraints to adaptation to climate change by farmers include:
Limited access to information on weather
Lack of predictive information on climate change and expected impacts;
Lack of information on appropriate adaptation methods, cost of adjustments to adaptation, etc.; and
Lack of access to credit to enable farmers adopt more efficient and optimal measures, invest in crop insurance, improve investments in better land and water management strategies and reduce the effects of shocks on their incomes and assets.
Possible measures to effects of climate change
Greater support for national and international research will be needed to assist Africa develop and shift into new strains of crops with tolerance to drought, disease, floods and pests
Investments in irrigation and better water management
Developing local capacity for improved climate predictions, preparedness and disaster management
Public investments are needed to support the development of weather stations
Measures in form of subsidies might be necessary initially to support the adoption of crop and livestock insurance given that cost of the insurance premiums might be high for farmers
LDCs and development partners need to strengthen collaboration to undertake assessment of risks posed by climate change to the competitiveness of existing and potential exports. Development partners could support the capacity development of this process
Development partners should assist and support LDCs by developing and transferring technologies such as drought and flood tolerant new varieties that are helpful in addressing climate related impacts
Development partners should commit to multilaterally agreed best practices and principles in the use of trade restricting measures including carbon footprint standards and labelling, etc.
The potential for Africa in carbon trade is high and development partners need to support Africa in developing the capacity to tap into the emerging opportunities
Agriculture is important for food security in two ways by being a primary sources of (a) food people eat, and (b) livelihood in Africa currently dependant on rain-fed agriculture with few additional inputs
Climate changes are likely to enhance the frequency and seriousness of floods, droughts, incidences of pests and diseases in regions with high rainfall variability
Lack of access to financing undermines agricultural productivity by limiting ability to afford improved seeds, fertilizers, small scale irrigation and livestock.
Adverse effects of climate change on agriculture will put the livelihoods of Africa’s rural farmers at risk and increase their vulnerability to food insecurity ;
Raising productivity and changing land use patterns among smallholder farmers will both enhance food production and reduce deforestation and associated carbon losses
Concrete support and increased resources are needed to tackle Africa’s climate change challenges
There is a critical need to review and shift emphasis of bilateral and multilateral development assistance from social sectors particularly health and education to wards boosting infrastructure and other process supportive economic growth.