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October 7th, 2019

Global plant diversity could be a lifeline for food security in sub-Saharan Africa, finds a new study

The analysis reveals that replacing some at-risk African food crops with more resilient crops from other parts of the world, as well as tapping the huge genetic diversity of crop wild relatives, could help shore up already beleaguered African agriculture against climate change. 

Climate change is expected to mete out particularly harsh effects in sub-Saharan Africa, due to its already-tropical conditions, but also because of wider socioeconomic factors that will intensify its impact. That will deepen food insecurity across the continent, if global emissions continue to climb.

Looking at 29 of the most important African food crops – which included grains, fruit, and vegetables – an international team of researchers found that depending on the severity of climate change, between 12 and 29% of the future ‘climate space’ where these species grow will have changed by 2070. Such largescale changes could edge out many staple crops that will no longer be able to grow under these more strenuous conditions. Read more …