10 March 2014

Ghana: Food Production to Decrease By 50 Percent in 2050 - Because of Climate Change

Climate projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicate that due to dry and hot climate blowing over sub-Saharan Africa, some of the countries, including Ghana, could see agricultural yields decrease by 50% by 2050.

This will lead to over 50% of the population of these countries going hungry. "An increasingly dry & hot climate will make sub-Saharan Africa less suitable for agriculture, reducing the length of growing seasons, lowering yields, and shrinking revenue. Some African countries could see agricultural yields decrease by fifty per cent by 2050".

Also, researchers studying the Indian Ocean have concluded that human-caused warming will make rainfall in the Horn of Africa even more erratic and severe drought more frequent.

The volatile, warmer, and more extreme weather will lead to more crop failures, and, on current modes of production, to less agricultural output in all regions, according to the IPCC climate projections.

Furthermore, directors of the United Nation's (UN's) three major food and agriculture programmes warned recently, the cumulative impact of rising temperatures and water stress, including most critically on staple crops such as corn, wheat, rice, and soybeans, will make global food prices even more volatile.

In the last five years the world has seen two dramatic spikes in those prices, driven for the most part by a combination of growing demand and chaotic weather, due to climate change.

This year alone, the drought and heat waves in many food-producing countries, including in the US and India have led to the prices of some food commodities soaring up.

But, Mr. Samuel Dotse, Country Coordinator of the Climate Action Network (CAN), Ghana believes that just as fixing health problems requires not just better hospitals, but adequate education, nutrition, and a clean environment and peace, so tackling global warming requires us to focus on how we develop our economies and societies.

According to him, the problem of climate change needs to be tackled more aggressively and requires a response that puts the world on a new path to climate smart development and shared prosperity.

He hinted that greater adaptation and mitigation efforts are essential, saying solutions to all of these exist for the comfort of Ghanaians.

Mr. Dotse disclosed that to act effectively on climate change, many sources of funding are needed and innovation is necessary to fill the large financing gap: Providing financing for climate change is a priority for us.

He said it requires engaged citizens and bold leadership, willing and able to take on entrenched interests and leave behind failed models, adding it is vital to put aside division and inaction to head off the worst impacts and address the global climate crisis effectively.

He called on Ghana's development partners to take action on climate change by providing the needed financial and technical support to address the impacts of climate change in the seven priority sectors identified in the Ghana's National Climate Change Policy.

Moreover, he called on the government to take advantage of the various financial supports such as the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience, which is a dedicated fund of almost US$1 billion under the Climate Investment Funds (CIF's), prioritizing vulnerable least developed countries.

The fund also provides grants and near zero interest concessional loans to a number of countries for a range of activities to adapt to climate change, improves upon agricultural practices and food security, build climate-resilient houses and improve upon weather data monitoring, he observed.

He said: "Tackling climate change can help accelerate economic and energy transformations, drive revolutions in technology and spur the creation of new production models. It can drive the creation of new goods, services, jobs, and exports. It can create new opportunities for the youth".

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