20 January 2013

Africa: Climate Change to Cut Food By 30 Percent

Dar es Salaam — Recent research done by different scientists in Africa has shown that production of important crops especially maize will decrease by 30% for the period of 20 years due to the effect of Climate Change.

The most affected areas according to scientists are in the Southern and Eastern Africa including Tanzania.

That was revealed by the Assistant Director of Environment in the Vice President's Office, Mr Richard Muyungi in Dar es Salaam last week during the agriculture workshop organized by Agriculture Council of Tanzania (ACT).

Mr. Muyungi said that, apart from floods, droughts and new diseases to crops and livestock which resulted by the rise of temperature, rain seasons have also changed and hence affects small scale farmers since they do not know specific period for farming.

"Rains are now unpredictable, we don't know, when it could start and when it would end, as a result we don't know specific time when we can do farming," Muyungi said.

In many North West and Coastal areas of the country where they used to have two-rain seasons per year, now they have only one season, he said.

Muyungi said that the effect of climate change is huge and will continue to bring effect in different areas of the countries in Africa.

He advised the government to increase efforts in providing irrigation technology and inputs to small scale farmers to raise their productivity.

However, with climate change, he said in order to increase productivity, farmers will be forced to use genetically modified organism (GMOs) which is expensive to get and may affect capacity and environment of small scale farmers.

Muyungi added that apart from that the increase of temperature result to fast development process of crops so decrease the normal cycle of time from planting to harvesting to crops such as maize.

"This situation results to the decrease of productivity", he added.

Muyingi said that there are different efforts which are being done at national level in the country in dealing with climate change.

He said that the government has prepared a number of strategy include that of protecting land and source of water and short term strategy to withstand climate change known as National Adaption Programme of Action (NAPA 2007).

During the last international meeting on Climate Change, the African countries have demanded developed nations to raise money from 2013 to 2015 to help them combat the consequences of climate change through 2020.

The meeting which was attended by 194 nations, ended with no such pledge. Instead, the discussion on "mid-term" finance was pushed to this year.

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