A tweet posted on April 24, 2023, was shared with us via WhatsApp, claiming that warmer temperatures have helped agriculture in Africa, therefore there is no climate change emergency.
A 2021 State of Climate in Africa report by the World Meteorological Organization provides key highlights that debunk this claim. The report found that the effects of climate change on African agriculture have been largely negative. Higher temperatures have resulted in an increase in drought and heat stress, which have had a damaging effect on crop yields.
“West African cereal production dropped by 1.8% in 2021/2022 compared to the previous year, and food prices increased by 50% in Burkina Faso and 30% in Niger, and around 23.7 million people were estimated to be in crisis or worse due to reduced domestic production and high food prices,” the report reads.
The report also reveals that the drought in Kenya had an impact on prices, livestock production, and maize output. As a result, 34% more people—2.1 million people—experienced acute food insecurity between July and October 2021 than during the same time period in 2020. In 2021, Madagascar experienced its worst drought since 1981, putting the country’s people in danger of starvation. An armyworm outbreak in the fall destroyed 60% of crops, and Malagasy locusts infested more than 48 000 hectares of land, all as a result of warmer temperatures.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change is already reducing crop yields in many African countries. For example, in the Sahel region of West Africa, where temperatures have risen by more than 1 degree Celsius in the past 50 years, crop yields have declined by up to 20% in some areas.
In addition to reducing crop yields, climate change is also affecting the nutritional quality of crops. Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns are causing an increase in pests and diseases that can damage crops and reduce their nutritional value, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The World Bank states that global warming has increased the risk of famine as well as the frequency of droughts and floods. In many African nations, these occurrences have disrupted agricultural production and added to food insecurity.
This assertion is not true. Warmer temperatures have affected agricultural productivity in Africa, and climate change is already having a negative impact on African agriculture.