Warning on south African cereal crops

Climate change could bring a 50% decline in cereals production in parts of southern Africa by 2080, Reuters reported, quoting a South African researcher. Parts of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique -- the region’s main cereal growers -- could be affected, Constansia Musvoto of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) told an agriculture conference in Durban.

“Overall, the effects of climate change in southern Africa are expected to be negative,” Musvoto said. “Research that has been done shows that cereal production, for example, could fall by as much as 50% by 2080 in some areas and other areas in the region may be completely unsuitable for agriculture by then.”

“Among small-scale farmers,” she added, “the threat of climate change is higher because of widespread poverty. There is an increased likelihood of crop failures, livestock diseases and therefore livelihood insecurity.”

Changes in southern Africa’s climate are expected to cause worse flooding in some areas and longer drought in others, reducing crops and raising prices. Other areas may face lower soil fertility, reducing harvests. Southern Africa relies heavily on agriculture for food and many of the region’s economies are dependent on farming exports for economic growth.


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