Tanzania’s population growth is among the highest in the East and central African region and the world and could worsen food security which is already severe, a new book, published this week by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) says.
Released on Monday by three research organizations, the book says that arable areas in the region are under severe pressure to increase their productivity to feed a rapidly increasing human population.
It however predicts that climate change could exacerbate the situation.
The book is the result of collaboration among IFPRI, the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), and scientists from each of the countries studied.
“Adaptation is essential for sustained economic growth in East Africa. This is the challenge facing policy makers, who must plan for the future without available information and analysis,” it reads in part.
East African Agriculture and Climate Change examines the food security threats facing 11 of the countries that make up East and Central Africa—Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda—and explores how climate change will increase the requirements for achieving sustainable food security throughout the region.
According to IFPRI, agriculture drives these countries’ economies and accounts for 43 per cent of their annual gross domestic product.
Using sophisticated modelling and available data to develop future scenarios and explore a range of climate change consequences for agriculture, food security, and resource management, the book offers recommendations to national governments and regional agencies.
Without adaptation, the book reports, climate change will have negative effects on wheat, soybean, sorghum, and irrigated rice yields.
Yield declines for each crop are different, but they range between five and 20 per cent, with irrigated rice being the crop most negatively impacted.
Rain-fed maize and rainfed rice yields might increase slightly because of climate change, generally because of projected higher rainfall in some areas.