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The Impact of Climate Change on Crop Production in West Africa: An Assessment for the Oueme River Basin in Benin

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  • B. Sonneveld

    ()

  • M. Keyzer

    ()

  • P. Adegbola

    ()

  • S. Pande

    ()

Abstract

Climate change studies for West Africa tend to predict a reduced potential for farming that will affect the food security situation of an already impoverished population. However, these studies largely ignore farmers’ adaptations and market adjustments that mitigate predicted negative effects. The paper attempts to fill some of this gap through a spatially explicit evaluation of the impact of climate change on farm income in the Oueme River Basin (ORB), Benin. The ORB is in many respects representative for the middle belt of West Africa where the predominantly sparse occupation leaves potential for migration from more densely populated areas. We apply a number of structural, spatially explicit relationships estimated for the whole territory of Benin to simulate conditions in the ORB proper that are similar to those currently prevailing in the drier North, and the more humid South. Our scenario results factor out for the main crops cultivated the constituent effects on yields, area, and revenue per ton. We find that under average climate change conditions the current low yields are not reduced, provided that cropping patterns are adjusted, while price increases partly compensate for the remaining adverse effects on farmer income. Consequently, without any policy intervention, farm incomes remain relatively stable, albeit at low levels and with increased occurrence of crop failures after extreme droughts. Scenario simulations show that there are also beneficial aspects that can, with adequate interventions, even turn losses into gains. Main channel for improvement would be the reduction of fallow, which is particularly promising because it requires few adjustments in prevailing farming practices, exploits the potential of uncultivated land and improves the water use efficiency. It also enables the Basin's capacity to absorb future migrant flows from more severely affected neighboring Sahelian areas. Copyright The Author(s) 2012

Suggested Citation

  • B. Sonneveld & M. Keyzer & P. Adegbola & S. Pande, 2012. "The Impact of Climate Change on Crop Production in West Africa: An Assessment for the Oueme River Basin in Benin," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 26(2), pages 553-579, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:waterr:v:26:y:2012:i:2:p:553-579
    DOI: 10.1007/s11269-011-9931-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. David O'Connor & James Ford, 2014. "Increasing the Effectiveness of the “Great Green Wall” as an Adaptation to the Effects of Climate Change and Desertification in the Sahel," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(10), pages 1-13, October.

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