Where in sub-Saharan Africa will climate change hit hardest? When it comes to food supply, prospects for much of the centre and east of the region are looking grim. Reduced crop yields along with a rising population mean that Tanzania, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are likely to face serious shortages by 2030, according to a comprehensive new study.
A team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Dübendorf led by Junguo Liu assessed the impact of climate change by 2030 on the production of six major food crops in sub-Saharan Africa: cassava, maize, wheat, sorghum, rice and millet. Higher temperatures will make wheat wilt, with yields falling by up to 18 per cent. By contrast, millet benefits, with yields up by as much as 27 per cent. Rice, maize, sorghum and cassava show little change.
By combining these assessments with projections for population and economic growth, the team then predicted how people in different countries would be affected. Tanzania, Mozambique and the DRC fared worst for food security. “They have the lowest economic growth, the fastest population growth or the lowest increase in calories from their crops,” Liu says.
The report goes on to predict that economic growth in Nigeria, Sudan and Angola will increase their purchasing power enough to allow them to buy their way out of hunger.