Adapting agriculture to climate change: Developing promising strategies using analogue locations in Eastern and Southern Africa

Published on 19 April 2011

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Start Date: 1 January 2011 | End Date: 31 December 2013


Using a combination of model-based ex ante analyses and iterative field-based research on station and in farmers’ fields, the project will test potential agricultural adaptation strategies for rainfed agriculture in the semi-arid and dry sub-humid tropics.  This will be achieved through choosing four currently important crop production zones (two in Kenya and two in Zimbabwe) and then identifying corresponding ‘spatial analogue locations’ for each production zone, providing eight study locations in all. We define “analogue locations” as those locations that have today the climatic characteristics that are expected tomorrow in our four chosen production zones. In defining the locations, special attention will be given to adaptation to temperature increases. Altitudinal effects on mean air temperature will facilitate this. Given the potential of ‘analogue locations’ to provide a solid basis for such research across sub-Saharan Africa, special attention will also be given to the continuous documentation and dissemination of project activities and achievements through the web, newsletters and dissemination events.  A strong element of participatory research with famers within the project locations will ensure that the project activities and outputs remain relevant to their needs and expectations.  Expected outputs are:

  1. Four important crop growing areas in Kenya and Zimbabwe which comprise (i) cool/dry, (ii) cool/wet, (iii) warm/dry and (iv) warm/wet growing conditions and their temperature analogue locations, identified and fully characterized.
  2. Through the combined use of long-term daily climate data, crop growth simulation models and participatory surveys with farmers, the implications of both current and future (climate change) production risk at the study locations identified and quantified.
  3. Through iterative field research both on station and in farmers’ fields over a 2-year period, potential crop, soil and water management and crop genotype adaptation options evaluated and adaptation strategies formulated for the target locations.
  4. Through the wide promotion of the project, dissemination of its activities, results and hands-on capacity building, the strengthened institutional capacity (both in understanding climate change impacts and developing effective adaptation responses) will be ensured.

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