Effect of climate change on agriculture

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Introduction

The article Investment key in adapting to climate change in West Africa focuses on the manner in which climate change in West Africa has affected agriculture. The article indicates that the changes experienced in climate will have negative impacts on the production of food in West Africa. The article further shows how strategic planning by the key players in the industry is likely to avert a disaster that is waiting to happen and therefore improve food security in the region. West Africa produces food crops such as millet, sorghum and cassava. The demand for the products grown in West Africa in other parts of the world is quite high. The situation is likely to stretch production thereby causing unnecessary pressure. There is a high likelihood that the area may be unable to meet these demands.

Issues raised by the article

Projections on the performance of agriculture in West Africa show that yields are likely to decline. Apart from climate change, issues such as urbanisation, changing political environment as well as social changes are likely to worsen the situation. These issues are likely to cause instability in the agricultural sector and therefore limiting investment in it. The article appreciates that indeed there is an existing problem in regard to food security. However, there is a belief that in the long run the consequences of food security can be averted through extensive investment in agriculture. Efforts should be geared towards increasing yields from farms as well as expanding land under agriculture (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, n.p). There is also need to be careful so as to avoid pressure on land which ultimately leads to negative impacts on the environment such as land degradation.

The article particularly emphasizes on the need for people in the affected areas to be proactive in adopting agricultural practices that will in the long run help in solving the problem of food insecurity. People should therefore avoid social economic tendencies such as abandoning agriculture to seek white collar jobs in urban areas. They can also actively participate in agriculture by directly investing in agriculture. Farming can also be helpful in the management of the existing resources. Resources include land on which they farm. As a natural resource, land should be taken care of by maintaining its fertility levels (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, n.p). It also means that they avoid the destruction of natural vegetation such as forests so as to put more land under agriculture.

The author explains how programs on climatic change have been implemented to determine how agriculture can be improved and therefore ensure that food security exists. Such programs have been carried out by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in conjunction with Environmental Change Institute (ECI) from the University of Oxford. Their findings were that the scenario in West Africa was similar to the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) projection of a changing socioeconomic environment (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, n.p). Other factors such as population pressure, deforestation and the changing uses of land constantly affect the effectiveness of land use.

The outcome of this research was crucial in the sense that it enables stakeholders in agriculture to envision the events likely to occur in the future. Policymakers will be able to come up with strategies to avert such situations. Developing such policy changes enables the country as well as other regions faced by similar situations to adopt action plans that ensure that the future is secure of problems related to the management of natural resources and food security. This will enable proper planning of land use without creating necessary pressure especially with an increasing in population, decreased land fertility as well as how climate change has been occasioned by pollution.

Relationship to class work

This article is closely related to the issues addressed in class. There is a close relationship between agriculture and the environment. The two components are very important have tremendous influence on each other. Human beings depend on agriculture for food. Despite the role played by agriculture, it has caused many problems including deforestation as forests have to be cleared to create land for agriculture. The scenario recurs in the article as seen in West Africa where land has been cleared to create land for the growing population as well as for agricultural use. Continued use of land and the resulting pressure has led reductions in the fertility of the land. In return, production has reduced thereby affecting food security. This is the scenario in Western Africa, yet different parts of the world depend on it for food production.

Lessons learnt in class on Neolithic revolution outline the manner in which various people were forced to specialize in particular economic activities. Some people were left to till the land while others moved to urban areas to participate in other economic activities such as trading, science and leadership. West Africa has also undergone the same revolution. The difference is that many people in the region are willing to abandon agriculture to move into urban areas since most of them believe that agriculture is not a fulfilling.

As nations develop, pressure on the existing resources increases. Development can cause the population to increase increasing the existing demand for resources. Increase in economic activities also lead to pollution and consequently changes in the ecosystem. The same scenario is observed in West Africa which is facing a scenario where the resources are highly strained as a result of the increased demand. There has been a rise in the population yet the resources have remained the same. The natural ecosystem has been disrupted, increasing the likelihood for food insecurity.

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  1. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. “Investment key in adapting to climate change in West Africa.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 March 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170309120548.htm>
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