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Cameroon: Climate change puts banana production at risk

Although a number of recent studies suggest that migration flows associated with the impact of climate change on agriculture are affecting both the social and economic systems, very few studies have been carried out on the matter in Africa. They would be very useful especially in Central Africa, where the impact of climate change is expected to be significant and, most of all, will take place in an area with low adaptive capacity.

"We focused on banana plantations (Musa paradisiaca), one of the main sources of income in Cameroon, to assess whether recent changes have led to a drop in production. Analyses of annual temperatures between 1950 and 2013 showed an increase of 0.8°C, a trend also confirmed in the monthly temperatures of the past 20 years. Between 1991 and 2011, a 43% drop in the productivity of central Africa plantations was observed," explained Trevon L Fuller from the University of California. 

This can cause both a reduction of rural wealth as well as a drop in family investments on education. Over the past two decades, there was a six month decrease in the duration of school attendance which was tightly linked with plantation yields. By 2080, the average annual temperatures is expected to increase by at least 2°C in Central Africa, and models have predicted a concomitant reduction of 39% in production and 51% in education compared to the 1991 baseline.

"These forecasts should be considered as a call-to-action for the development of policies such as farmer training programmes to improve the adaptive capacity of food production systems to mitigate the impact on rural wealth and education as well as genetic improvement and varietal selection programmes to mitigate the impact of climate change on crop productivity."

Source: Fuller Trevon L., Sesink Clee Paul R., Njabo Kevin Y., Tróchez Anthony, Morgan Katy, Meñe Demetrio Bocuma, Anthony Nicola M., Gonder Mary Katherine, Allen Walter R., Hanna Rachid, Smith Thomas B., 'Climate warming causes declines in crop yields and lowers school attendance rates in Central Africa', 2018, Science of The Total Environment, Vol. 610, pag. 503-510.

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