Since 2018 the project AGRICA – Climate risk analyses for identifying and weighing adaptation strategies in sub-Saharan Africa is implemented by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in close cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). AGRICA aims to contribute significantly to the prioritization of suitable adaptation strategies at the local level and to support the climate mainstreaming efforts of the BMZ.
Around the world, countries are increasingly recognizing the importance of effective adaptation strategies as their response to climate change. As part of the international commitments to the Paris Agreement, countries seek to develop and implement adaptation policies and investment plans, for instance through their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). However, access to reliable information and data on local climate risks and their costs, on which suitable adaptation decisions should be based, is often limited.
This information is particularly important for the agricultural sector, which is increasingly threatened by the impacts of climate change. Many developing and least developed countries (LDCs) largely depend on the agricultural sector. This is particularly true for sub-Saharan Africa, where agriculture contributes up to 50 % of the countries’ GDP and up to 90 % of the population is employed in the agricultural sector, mostly as smallholder farmers. Therefore, the challenge is to adapt to changing climatic conditions in order to protect livelihoods in developing countries while making a sustainable contribution to global food security.
In addition, there are still many challenges to institutionalize knowledge about the effects of climate change and to raise awareness in partner countries as well as in organizations of international cooperation.
In order to meet these challenges, comprehensive Climate Risk (CRA) Analyses for the agricultural sector are conducted within the framework of AGRICA and are supplemented by compact and cross-sectoral Climate Risk Profiles (CRP).
Geographically, the project focuses on the Sahel region and sub-Saharan Africa. These regions are among the poorest in the world and particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. For example, climate change not only threatens food security in the region, but also increases the risk that existing crises and conflicts will further intensify.
Therefore, the full impact chain from a changing climate to changing water availabilities and resulting climate impacts on the agricultural sector is modelled. The main objectives for each CRA are (1) a risk analysis with estimates for current and projected climate risks and (2) an assessment of the costs and benefits of
selected adaptation strategies as compared to non-action.
Against this background, a CRA provides decision-makers at various planning and implementation levels with valuable information and evidence-based recommendations for suitable adaptation investments. The study results feed international and sub-national adaptation planning processes, including the development and review of the countries’ NDCs, NAPs and development strategies.
AGRICA is supplemented by Climate Risk Profiles, which contribute to the mainstreaming approach of the BMZ. The profiles raise awareness of the existing and projected climate risks in selected countries and provide reliable information on their impacts across various sectors.
Climate Risk Analyses (CRA) are comprehensive studies at the national or district level, focusing on the agricultural sector. They reflect the current state of science, presenting existing and future climate risks with a high spatial resolution under different emissions scenarios. The CRAs are based on evolving trends for temperature and precipitation, future water availability and the country’s suitability to grow crops. Projections go up to the year 2090, offering opportunities not only to look into short-term trends (2030), but also to take medium (2050) and long-term (2090) climate change impacts into account. On this basis, suitable adaptation strategies for the local context are proposed and verified by a cost-benefit analysis.
The involvement of local stakeholders, including representatives from governmental institutions, academia, civil society, farmers, the private sector and international cooperation, is particularly important during the entire study process. This ensures that the CRAs are optimally tailored to the local conditions and the needs of the local partners. The studies also assess the vulnerability and adaptation capacity of different social groups, for instance in terms of gender, age and migration status. All data and results generated during the study process are made publicly available.
The national studies for Ghana and Ethiopia have already been successfully completed in 2019. A study on district level for northern Ghana will be launched in September 2021 and two further national studies for Burkina Faso and Niger will be completed towards the end of this year.
Four short documentaries were created in order to show the effects of climate change on agriculture and crop production, using the example of Northern Ghana. Based on the results of PIK’s climate risk analysis at district level for Ghana’s Upper West Region (UWR), the films present different adaptation strategies that can enable local smallholder farmers to better cope with the challenges of climate change and to stabilize their yields.
The films were produced by Barbara van Rijn from BvR Producties in cooperation with Francis Jarawura from the University of Development Studies (UDS) in Wa, Ghana, the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agricultura (MoFA) and the GIZ-project Resilience Against Climate Change (REACH).
Impacts of climate change on crop production in Ghana’s Upper West Region
This film provides a snapshot of climate impacts on the agricultural sector in Ghana’s Upper West Region (UWR). Extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts and heat waves, have occurred more frequently and more heavily as a result of climate change, affecting the livelihoods of the local population and the economic growth of the region. This trend is likely to continue, but effective adaptation strategies can enable local smallholder farmers to better cope with these challenges.
Four strategies for adapting to climate change in Ghana’s Upper West Region
Adaptation to climate change is already necessary today to limit its impacts on the agricultural sector in Ghana’s Upper West Region (UWR). This film presents four suitable adaptation strategies: improved seeds, intercropping of cashew with legume, Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) and irrigation. These strategies have a great potential for local smallholder farmers to cope with the impacts of climate change, stabilize their crop yields and secure their livelihoods.
Adaptation Strategy: Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR)
This film provides a short introduction to the adaptation strategy “Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR)”. In FMNR systems, farmers use pruning to encourage the growth of trees and shrubs that regenerate the soil and enhance crop yields. Furthermore, the growth of trees and shrubs can help to prevent soil erosion and, therefore, serve as a flood protection. It can also increase the amount of shade and deliver valuable by-products for food and fodder production.
Adaptation Strategy: Irrigation
This film provides a short overview of the potential of the adaptation strategy “Irrigation” for the Upper West Region (UWR) of Ghana. Irrigation, particularly in the dry season, can help local smallholder farmers to grow vegetables and other crops for their own consumption and for sale on the local market, making them more resilient to climate change.
Climate Risk Profiles (CRP) provide a compact and country-specific overview of existing and future climate risks in key sectors, including water resources, agriculture, infrastructure, ecosystems and human health. CRPs complement the comprehensive CRAs and offer great potential for climate mainstreaming into relevant policy processes of the partner countries and for international cooperation. The profiles are targeted to a broad audience and intend to inform decision makers from governments, international institutions, civil society, academia and the private sector.
So far, CRPs have been finalized for 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger, Tanzania and Uganda) and are available in the official languages of the respective countries.