CLIMATE CHANGE AND FOOD CROP SECURITY IN GHANA: A CASE OF BIBIANI – AHWIASO – BEKWAI DISTRICT

ABSTRACT
Climate Change (CC) poses threat to food crop production especially in a developing country like Ghana. As a result, this study examined the impact of CC on output of maize, cassava and plantain in the Bibiani-Ahwiaso-Bekwai (BAB) district and farmers adaptation strategies. Questionnaires, focus group discussions, interview guide and direct observation were the main instruments used for gathering primary data from 231 households, selected randomly and purposively from six communities. Again, 31 years‟ time series data points from secondary sources were used to perform multiple regression analysis. Analysis was done using the Eviews software for Ordinary Least Squares (OLS), MAKESENS Excel template for Trend analysis, IBM SPSS version 20 for Cross tabulation, Microsoft Excel, 2013 for frequency charts and thematic analysis for all qualitative data analysis. The results of the study revealed that, changes (increase) in temperature has a significant negative impact (decrease) on output of maize. From farmers‟ perspective, negative impacts of CC on crops are greatly felt during fruits development and maturation stages in the production process. Again, some farming practices (like deforestation and slash and burn) apart from contributing to anthropogenic induced CC, also exacerbate the effects of CC on crops. Also, the quantity of output of crops is positively related to land area with high significance level. Finally, mixed cropping and mulching were mostly used by farmers to adapt to CC which were basically determined by farmers‟ years of farming experience and the fact that they were relatively cost effective. Unfortunately, institutional mitigation strategies were not functioning (were very weak) in the district. The study thus recommended that mitigation should be made „crop and stage specific‟ in the production process and experienced farmers should be involved in public education on best adaptation options. Communication and education about CC should also be intensified and made more meaningful to farmers if institutional mitigation strategies would be effective.


CHAPTER ONE
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.1. INTRODUCTION
Climate change has attracted global attention than any other recent geographical phenomena. This is evidenced in the number of international committees and organisations about it and their various annual reports as well as its inclusion in academic discipline as a permanent field of study at degree levels of various higher institutions. It is considered the biggest environmental threat in human history and the defining human challenge for the twenty-first century (IPCC, 2001; UNDP, 2007). Global climate has indeed changed and is still changing - an observation and assertion made by Fellmann et al, (2005) that the structure of the ecosphere is not eternal and unchanging, rather alteration is the constant rule of the physical environment and would be so even in the absence of human and their distorting impacts. Consequences of such climate change are already felt throughout the Earth system and the effects thereof are observed on every continent and in all sectors. However, adaptation to these changes needs to not only respond to these impacts, but also needs to be integrated into sustainable development strategies and their implementation.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, 2007) defined climate change as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”. To them climate change involves a change in climatic variables (such as rainfall, temperature and wind speed) which is caused by both anthropogenic and natural factors over longer time periods. The most mentioned climatic variables identified to have direct relationship with crop production and which affect output of various crops are temperature, precipitation and extreme weather events such as flood, windstorm and drought. Thus, climate change is considered as gradual but noticeable changes in regional or global-scale patterns of ancient climatic variables (particularly rainfall and temperature) induced by man or natural means which usually results in sporadic but progressively recurrent dangerous impacts.

There is rising anxiety about the effect of CC on human life, as the scientific agreement grows that significant climate change is very likely to occur over the 21st century (Christensen and Hewitson, 2007). As global climate keeps changing, there is need to worry and intensify research focus on it since various earth systems such as agriculture and soil are vulnerable to impacts accompanying such changes. In regards to agriculture, the general agreement is that changes in temperature and rainfall will result in changes in land and water regimes that will then disturb agricultural output (World Bank, 2003; Kurukulasuriya and Rosenthal, 2003). If agriculture becomes affected, then food security also becomes uncertain.

Food security occurs when individuals have continuous physical or economic access to adequate, harmless, and nourishing food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (FAO and W.F.P., 2012). But the problem is that food security in the face of global climate change has become highly threatened since over one billion people around the world are underfed because they lack easy and constant access to affordable food (Cordell et al., 2009). It must also be noted, that the quantity produced (availability) of a particular crop which is also a function of food security is dependent on other factors such as land area, soil fertility and agronomic practices other than climatic factors of rainfall and temperature. It therefore becomes imperative for this study to take into account (besides rainfall and temperature) the impact of the size of the land area used for cultivation (which data was readily available at the time of this study unlike soil fertility and agronomic practices) since food security is being studied. As noted by Smith (2013), that food production can increase by expanding agricultural area. In other words, to be able to satisfy future food demand, then per-area productivity must increase. In support, Edgerton (2009) stressed that to satisfy the growing, worldwide demand for grain (maize), the area under production can be increased and or improved to boost productivity on the existing farmland.

The rapid pace at which climate change is happening, together with the increase in global population and slow income growth, threatens food security globally (Manyeruke et al, 2013). Agriculture has proven to be extremely susceptible to climate change as seen by the severe decline in food production over the past two decades, and that the high temperatures that are being experienced in most parts of the globe will eventually reduce yields of desirable crops while encouraging weed and pest proliferation (Manyeruke et al, 2013). The changes in precipitation patterns will significantly increase the likelihood of crop failures and production declines (Nelson et al, 2009, cited in Manyeruke et al, 2013).

All the four dimensions of food security are affected in one way or the other by climate change: that is food availability, food accessibility, food utilization and food systems stability (FAO and W.F.P., 2012). However the observed impacts indicates high effects on production aspects of food security rather than access or other components of food security (IPCC, 2014). For the purpose of this study, food security focused mainly on production (availability) component. Since agriculture (crop production) relates directly to or depends largely on climatic proxies of rainfall and temperature, changes (variations) in the pattern of these climatic proxies‟ impacts crop production hence to food security.

In Africa, low levels of food security and economic development conspire with high levels of climate risk (FAO and W.F.P., 2012). This is because agriculture systems in most countries in sub-Sahara Africa such as Ghana, Uganda, Cote d‟lvoire and Nigeria depend solely on rainfall. Therefore a slight delay in rainfall or unusual changes in rainfall pattern affect productivity levels greatly hence food security (IPCC, 2014). This has resulted in conscious effort on the part of farmers in these countries to adapt to such changes in rainfall pattern and temperature extremes through diversity of means ranging from irrigation to undertaking non-farm activities.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 123 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH50  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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