Edited by Ariel Dinar and Robert Mendelsohn
Chapter 9: Economy-wide Impacts of Climate Change on Agriculture – Case Study for Adaptation Strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa
Alvaro Calzadilla, Tingju Zhu, Katrin Rehdanz, Richard S.J. Tol and Claudia Ringler INTRODUCTION Agriculture is by far the largest consumer of freshwater resources. Globally, around 70 per cent of all available freshwater is used for irrigation (United Nations, 2003). While irrigated agriculture focuses on withdrawals of water from surface and groundwater sources, rainfed agriculture relies on soil moisture generated from rainfall. In many developing countries the agricultural sector provides the main livelihood and employment for the majority of the population and contributes considerably to national GDP. Therefore reductions in agricultural production caused by future climate change could seriously weaken food security and worsen the livelihood conditions for the rural poor (Commission for Africa, 2005). Climate change will affect agricultural productivity through different mechanisms. The World Development Report 2008 (World Bank, 2007) identifies five main factors: changes in temperature; changes in precipitation; changes in carbon dioxide (CO2) fertilization; increased weather variability; and changes in surface water runoff. Crop production is directly influenced by precipitation and temperature. Precipitation determines the availability of freshwater and the level of soil moisture. Temperature and soil moisture determine the length of the growing season and control the crop’s development and water requirements. Weather variability, especially changes in rainfall patterns, is particularly important for rainfed agriculture. Soil moisture limitations reduce crop productivity and increase the risk of rainfed farming systems. Although the risk of climate variability is reduced by the use of irrigation, irrigated farming systems depend on reliable water sources that may be exposed to changes...
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