Adaptation of Agriculture to Climate Change in Sierra Leone

West African Agriculture and Climate Change: A Comprehensive Analysis, edited by Abdulai Jalloh, Gerald C. Nelson, Timothy S. Thomas, Robert Zougmoré, and Harold Roy-Macauley, was published in April 2013 by IFPRI. The objective of the book is to help policymakers better understand the impact that climate change will likely have upon their country so as to better prepare for it and make good policies which will help farmers. In this brief post, I focus on the results for Sierra Leone. That chapter was written by Raymond G. Johnson, Mohamed Kandeh, Abdulai Jalloh, Timothy S. Thomas, and Gerald C. Nelson.

Sierra Leone rainfed rice yield change, 2000-2050, MIROC A1 Legend for yield changes from DSSAT crop model, 2000-2050
Yield change for rainfed rice between 2000 and 2050, calculated using crop models with the MIROC A1B climate model

In the book, the authors use two types of models to evaluate the impact of climate change. Using the DSSAT crop model system together with four different climate models, the book reports that even without technological change, Sierra Leone’s primary crop, rice, under rainfed conditions will perform satisfactorily, with yield increases in some locations, and no significant yield changes in most locations, with few declines noted. Using the second model, IMPACT, a global model of supply and demand which allows for technological change, rice yields will rise by around 80 percent between 2010 and 2050, and cassava yields will double. Under the pessimistic scenario, with population increasing by 150 percent between 2000 and 2050, and GDP per capita only reaching around $400, mean under-5 malnutrition may linger well into the future. But under the baseline and optimistic scenarios, income will rise sufficiently to reduce the magnitude of the problem.

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