Publication site : FAO and ICRISAT
Date of publication : 2019
Type of publication : Report
Agricultural land in Cabo Verde is about 79 000 hectares representing 19.6 percent of total land area. The percentage distribution of land use systems is as follows: arable land (12.90 percent), permanent crop (0.99 percent), permanent meadows and pastures (6.20 percent); forest area (22.07 percent) and other land uses (57.84 percent). Santiago (991 square kilometer), the largest of the ten islands of Cabo Verde is the most important region for agriculture. Three agroecological zones can be distinguished in Cabo Verde: arid, semi-arid and subhumid. In Santiago where agricultural activities are predominant, the climate is predominantly arid tropical with two seasons: a moderate season (december–june, with an average seawater temperature of 22 °C-23 °C) and a warm season (26 °C-27 °C).
In total, between 1990 and 2005, Cabo Verde gained 44.8 percent of its forest cover
Precipitation is meagre and erratic – indeed Cabo Verde can be seen as an island extension of the arid, sahel zone. The mean precipitation is around 225 mm/year and has been decreasing since the 1960s, with negative impacts on agriculture and water supplies. Soils in Cabo Verde are mainly of volcanic origin, medium to coarse textured, steep, low in organic matter and generally shallow. The vegetation of the Cabo Verde Islands is sparse and consists of various shrubs, aloes, and other drought-resistant species. About 84 000 hectares of Cabo Verde is forested. Between 1990 and 2000, Cabo Verde gained an average of 2 400 hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual reforestation rate of 4.14 percent. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change decreased by 88.2 percent to 0.49 percent per annum. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Cabo Verde gained 44.8 percent of its forest cover, or around 26 000 hectares.
Agricultural greenhouse gas emissions
As a small island development state (SIDS), Cabo Verde has one of the lowest GHG emissions per capita. Total annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emission in Cabo Verde is estimated at about 0.48 Mt CO2 equivalent (CO2 e) with an emission intensity of 260t CO2 eq/ million $ GDP. Most GHGs emissions come from the energy sector followed by GHG emissions from agriculture (22.9 percent). Emissions from land use change was least (-0.17 Mt CO2). As result, total GHG emissions (0.48 Mt CO2) is lower than GHG emissions from energy (0.5 Mt CO2) in 2014. Regarding emissions from agriculture, the livestock sub-sector contributes 99.6 percent mainly from enteric fermentation (40.5 percent) and emissions from manure left on pastures (35.8 percent). In the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), Cabo Verde outlined an unconditional commitment to reduce emissions particularly from the energy sector. With international support, Cabo Verde seeks to increase the renewable energy uptake in electricity to 100 percent by 2025, with best efforts to achieve this goal already by 2020, in accordance with the following indicative trajectory: 35 percent renewable penetration rate in 2016-2018; 50 percent renewable energy penetration rate in 2018-2020; and 100 percent renewable energy penetration rate in 2020-2025.
Agriculture and climate change
Climatic models ran during 2008-2012 have shown that the country´s natural vulnerabilities, along with their social and economic implications, are very likely to be exacerbated by climate-related disruptions in the next decades. These include more frequent extreme events like storms, floods and droughts, as well as shorter rainy seasons, with immediate impacts on livelihoods, infrastructure, sanitary conditions, recharge of reservoirs, and crop productivity. In addition, the country’s coastal lines are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and erosion. Around 80 percent of its population is currently living in these coastal areas. Cabo Verde is affected by acute water scarcity (both surface and underground). Mean annual precipitation levels are erratic and have decreased considerably since 1970. Rainfall projections to 2020 reveal values below the historical pattern. As result, the country has implemented and regularly maintains around 20 highly costly and energy intensive water desalination units. Daily water needs of population centers, tourism and agriculture is predicted to increase fourfold, from around 50 000 m3 to 160 000 m3 by 2030 and thus the potential of various sustainable water supply and mobilization solutions will need to be better explored going forward.
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