Author (s): Sidafa Conde, Abdoulai Jalloh, Gerald C. Nelson, and Timothy S. Thomas
Affiliated organization: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Type of publication: Academic article
Date of publication: 2012
Guinea has a tropical climate with two alternating seasons, a November–March dry season and an April–October rainy season. In general, rainfall increases from north to south. Average annual rainfall is 1,988 mm. Rice is the staple crop, and other important food crops are corn, fonio groundnuts, and cassava. Most of the population is rural, and the agricultural sector is the major employer. Urbanization is a growing phenomenon in Guinea. Agricultural GDP remained at about 20 percent of total GDP between the mid-1980s and 2005. By 2009, that share declined to less than 10 percent, reflecting a stagnation in agricultural productivity and the growth of other sectors like mining and the service sector.
In addition to increasing demand for social services (health, education, water supply, electricity, and related infrastructure), growth will put pressure on agricultural land, which will result in a further reduction in the fallow period, decreasing yields, unless compensated for in some other way.
CLIMATE CHANGE SCENARIOS & THEIR POTENTIAL EFFECTS ON YIELDS
All the models predict that temperatures will rise by at least 1– 1.50C in every part of the country for the average daily maximum during the warmest month. However, the CNRM and ECHAM models project relatively higher temperatures, with the CNRM having areas with increases up to 2.50C and the ECHAM showing areas with increases as high as 2.80C. The CSIRO or MIROC models have maximum increases in temperature in Guinea of 1.40C and 1.70C, respectively. The combination of increased temperatures and lower rainfall would have adverse effects on water availability and thus on agricultural production.
CLIMATE CHANGE & FOOD SECURITY SCENARIOS
In the pessimistic scenario, per capita GDP will double between 2010 and 2050. In the intermediate scenario, it will quadruple, and in the optimistic scenario, it will increase by almost 600 percent. Much effort will be needed to make progress towards the optimistic scenario, including policies relating to family planning education and increased economic investment. Under all scenarios, rice yields are expected to increase from about 0.8 metric tons (MT) per hectare (ha) to 1.3 MT/ha between 2010 and 2050, when averaged across all scenarios and the four climate models. For rice in Guinea, the climate models have almost identical yields, while there is perhaps a 0.1 MT/ha difference between the pessimistic scenario and the optimistic scenario in 2050. Harvested area is virtually unchanged. Total production of rice increases by around 60 percent. Net imports would continue to increase under all the scenarios, as population growth and income growth increases domestic demand by a greater margin than the rate of production increase.
Growth will put pressure on agricultural land, which will result in a further reduction in the fallow period, decreasing yields, unless compensated for in some other way
In the baseline and optimistic scenarios, the number of malnourished children under five years will decrease after 2020. In the pessimistic scenario, however, that number is projected to increase through 2035 and then remain constant through 2050. Accounting for population growth, however, the proportion of malnourished children should decline under all scenarios. In the baseline and optimistic scenarios, the availability of kilocalories per capita will rise. In the pessimistic scenario, it will decrease.
Among the recommendations advanced in the monograph from which this brief was drawn are that policymakers should:
- protect natural habitats from degradation due to agricultural expansion as a result of population growth and climate change.
- bolster the meteorological department to better monitor climate and predict weather patterns; and
- support agricultural research and extension to develop resilient crop varieties (particularly for rice, maize and groundnut) and to improve yields. The research system should also determine appropriate management practices like time of planting, crop densities and mixtures for improved productivity.
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