AgMIP: New Results from Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia Regional Integrated Assessments

Monday, 15 December 2014: 11:02 AM
Cynthia Rosenzweig, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, United States; Columbia University of New York, Palisades, NY, United States
AgMIP conducted the first set of comprehensive regional integrated assessments of climate change impacts on smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia led by researchers from the regions themselves. The project developed new methods integrating climate, crop, livestock and economic models to conduct climate change impact assessments that characterize impacts on smallholder groups. AgMIP projections of climate change impacts on agriculture are more realistic than previous assessments because they take agricultural development into account. Using the best available data and models, the assessments directly evaluated yield, income, and poverty outcomes including the effects of adaptation packages and development pathways.

Results show that even with agricultural development, climate change generally will exert negative pressure on yields of smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Without adaptation, climate change leads to increased poverty in some locations in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia compared to a future in which climate change does not occur. Adaptation can significantly improve smallholder farmer responses to climate change. AgMIP expert teams identified improved varieties, sowing practices, fertilizer application, and irrigation applications as prioritized adaptation strategies. These targeted adaptation packages were able to overcome a portion of detrimental impacts but could not compensate completely in many locations. Even in cases where average impact is near zero, vulnerability (i.e., those at risk of loss) can be substantial even when mean impacts are positive.