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Is Cassava the Answer to African Climate Change Adaptation?

Published by:
Publication date
Type of Publication:
Articles & Journals
Focus Region:
Sub-Saharan Africa
Focus Topic:
Climate / Weather / Environment
Type of Risk:
Weather & Climate related
Type of Risk Managment Option:
Risk reduction/mitigation
Jarvis, A.; Ramirez-Villegas, J.; Herrera Campo, B.V.; Navarro-Racines, C.

This paper examines the impacts of climate change on cassava production in Africa, and questions whether cassava can play an important role in climate change adaptation. First, we examine the impacts that climate change will likely have on cassava itself, and on other important staple food crops for Africa including maize, millets, sorghum, banana, and beans based on projections to 2030. Results indicate that cassava is actually positively impacted in many areas of Africa, with −3.7% to +17.5% changes in climate suitability across the continent. Conversely, for other major food staples, we found that they are all projected to experience negative impacts, with the greatest impacts for beans (−16% ± 8.8), potato (−14.7 ± 8.2), banana (−2.5% ± 4.9), and sorghum (−2.66% ± 6.45). We then examined the likely challenges that cassava will face from pests and diseases through the use of ecological niche modeling for cassava mosaic disease, whitefly, brown streak disease and cassava mealybug.