Changing Rainfall Patterns and Food Insecurity: Vulnerable Regions and Adaptation Strategies

A special issue of Climate (ISSN 2225-1154). This special issue belongs to the section "Climate and Environment".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2024 | Viewed by 5038

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK
Interests: natural hazards; climate change; hydro-meteorology; nature-based solutions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As climate change continues to reshape weather systems, rainfall patterns are experiencing notable variations, leading to profound consequences for the occurrence of  floods and droughts as well as agricultural production and food/water availability. Vulnerable regions, often characterized by limited resources, less adaptive capacity, and high dependence on rain-fed agriculture, face heightened challenges in ensuring a stable food and water supply for their populations. This Special Issue delves into the critical intersection between shifting precipitation patterns and the resulting impacts on natural hazards (flood, droughts, and heatwaves) and food security across various regions.

This Special Issue seeks to explore the intricate relationship between changing rainfall patterns and the escalation of water and food insecurity in these susceptible areas. It addresses the multifaceted dynamics that contribute to increasing flood and drought risks as well as reduced agricultural yields, disrupted crop cycles, and compromised livelihoods, all of which amplify the risk of food shortages and failure in basic infrastructure. Additionally, this Special Issue endeavors to uncover innovative, environmentally sustainable, and cost-effective adaptation strategies and approaches (e.g., nature-based solutions) that communities, governments, and organizations can employ to mitigate the impacts of changing rainfall patterns on water and food security.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Climate-induced shifts in rainfall patterns;
  • Impacts on agricultural production;
  • Food insecurity;
  • Natural climate solution;
  • Droughts;
  • Floods;
  • Vulnerability assessment;
  • Adaptation strategies.

Dr. Sisay Debele
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • rainfall variability
  • precipitation
  • food insecurity
  • agriculture
  • natural climate solutions
  • floods
  • droughts
  • adaptation strategies
  • socio-economic impacts

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 1552 KiB  
Article
Adaptation through Climate-Smart Agriculture: Examining the Socioeconomic Factors Influencing the Willingness to Adopt Climate-Smart Agriculture among Smallholder Maize Farmers in the Limpopo Province, South Africa
by Koketso Cathrine Machete, Mmapatla Precious Senyolo and Lungile Sivuyile Gidi
Climate 2024, 12(5), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli12050074 - 17 May 2024
Abstract
Agriculture contributes to the South African economy, but this sector is highly vulnerable to climate change risks. Smallholder maize farmers are specifically susceptible to climate change impacts. The maize crop plays a crucial role in the country’s food security as is considered a [...] Read more.
Agriculture contributes to the South African economy, but this sector is highly vulnerable to climate change risks. Smallholder maize farmers are specifically susceptible to climate change impacts. The maize crop plays a crucial role in the country’s food security as is considered a staple food and feed. The study aimed at examining the socioeconomic factors influencing smallholder maize farmers’ willingness to adopt climate-smart agriculture in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. It was conducted in three different areas due to their specific agro-ecological zones. A multipurpose research design was used to gather data, and multistage random sampling was used to choose the study areas. Subsequently, 209 purposefully selected farmers were interviewed face-to-face using structured questionnaires and focus discussion groups. Descriptive results revealed that 81%, 67%, and 63% farmers in Ga-Makanye, Gabaza, and Giyani were willing to adopt CSA. Using the double-hurdle model, the t-test was significant at 1%, Prob > chi2 = 0. 0000, indicating a good model. At a 5% confidence level, education, crop diversification, and information about climate-smart agriculture (CSA) positively influenced adoption, while household size and agricultural experience negatively influenced it. It is recommended that the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development provide CSA workshops and educational programs to farmers to enhance their knowledge and decision-making processes regarding adaptation strategies. Full article
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25 pages, 606 KiB  
Article
Adapting to Climate Change in Vulnerable Areas: Farmers’ Perceptions in the Punjab, Pakistan
by Faisal Nadeem, Brent Jacobs and Dana Cordell
Climate 2024, 12(5), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli12050058 - 24 Apr 2024
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Abstract
Climate variability and change pose a substantial threat to agricultural practices and livelihoods in the Punjab province of Pakistan, a region of agricultural significance in South Asia. In particular, farmers residing in vulnerable parts of Punjab will be affected by a combination of [...] Read more.
Climate variability and change pose a substantial threat to agricultural practices and livelihoods in the Punjab province of Pakistan, a region of agricultural significance in South Asia. In particular, farmers residing in vulnerable parts of Punjab will be affected by a combination of high exposure to the impacts of climate events, the innate sensitivity of agricultural systems, and constraints on farmers’ adaptive capacity. The situation requires closer engagement with vulnerable farming communities of Punjab to assess their vulnerability and build their capacity for adaptation actions. Through qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews with farmers from four highly vulnerable districts of Punjab (Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh, Chakwal, Dera Ghazi Khan), we explored farmers’ perceptions of climate change, their adaptation strategies, and enablers and limitations on adaptation options imposed by the enabling environment. We found issues around water governance, knowledge exchange, and market arrangements for crops as key limitations to farmers’ local adaptation action in highly resource-constrained settings. Moreover, the results indicated the need to address equity issues for small-scale compared to large-scale farmers. Farmers valued their experience-based local knowledge and peer-to-peer sharing networks as pivotal resources in pursuit of their practice-based learning. The research findings highlighted the necessity of directed institutional assistance to empower adaptation by vulnerable small-scale farmers. This study emphasizes the critical significance of the enabling environment that facilitates vulnerable farmers to implement adaptation strategies, thereby promoting the adoption of Vulnerable-Smart Agriculture. Full article
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15 pages, 10876 KiB  
Article
Safe Sowing Windows for Smallholder Farmers in West Africa in the Context of Climate Variability
by Sehouevi Mawuton David Agoungbome, Marie-Claire ten Veldhuis and Nick van de Giesen
Climate 2024, 12(3), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli12030044 - 17 Mar 2024
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Abstract
Climate variability poses great challenges to food security in West Africa, a region heavily dependent on rainfall for farming. Identifying sowing strategies that minimize yield losses for farmers in the region is crucial to securing their livelihood. In this paper, we investigate three [...] Read more.
Climate variability poses great challenges to food security in West Africa, a region heavily dependent on rainfall for farming. Identifying sowing strategies that minimize yield losses for farmers in the region is crucial to securing their livelihood. In this paper, we investigate three sowing strategies to assess their ability to identify safe sowing windows for smallholder farmers in the Sudanian region of West Africa (WA) in the context of a changing climate. The GIS version of the FAO crop model, AquaCrop-GIS, is used to simulate the yield response of maize (Zea mays L.) to varying sowing dates throughout the rainy season across WA. Based on an average of 38 years of data per grid cell, we identify safe sowing windows across the Sudanian region that secure at least 90% of maximal yield. We find that current sowing strategies, based on minimum thresholds for rainfall accumulated over a period that are widely applied in the region, carry a higher risk of yield failure, especially at the beginning of the rainy season. This analysis shows that delaying sowing for a month to mid-June in the central region (east of Lon 8.5°W), and to early August in the semi-arid areas is a safer strategy that ensures optimal yields. A comparison between the periods 1982–1991 and 1992–2019 shows a negative shift for LO10 mm and LO20 mm, suggesting a wetter regime compared to the dry periods of the 1970s and 1980s. On the contrary, we observe a positive shift in the safe window strategy, highlighting the need for precautions due to erratic rainfall at the beginning of the season. The precipitation-based strategies hold a high risk, while the safe sowing window strategy, easily accessible to smallholder farmers, is more fitting, given the current climate. Full article
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25 pages, 5458 KiB  
Article
Linking Climate Change Information with Crop Growing Seasons in the Northwest Ethiopian Highlands
by Gashaw Bimrew Tarekegn, Addis A. Alaminie and Sisay E. Debele
Climate 2023, 11(12), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli11120243 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1903
Abstract
In Ethiopia, the impacts of climate change are expected to have significant consequences for agriculture and food security. This study investigates both past (1981–2010) and future (2041–2070) climate trends and their influence on the length of the growing season (LGS) in the North-Western [...] Read more.
In Ethiopia, the impacts of climate change are expected to have significant consequences for agriculture and food security. This study investigates both past (1981–2010) and future (2041–2070) climate trends and their influence on the length of the growing season (LGS) in the North-Western Ethiopian highlands. Climate observations were obtained from the National Meteorological Agency of Ethiopia, while the best performing and highest resolution models from the CMIP5 experiment and RCP6 (Coupled Models Intercomparison Project and representative concentration pathway 6) were used for the analysis. Standard statistical methods were applied to compute soil water content, evaluate climate variability and trends, and assess their impact on the length of the growing season. Maximum temperature (tasmax) and minimum temperature (tasmin) inter-annual variability anomalies show that the region has experienced cooler years than hotter years in the past. However, in the future, the coolest years are expected to decrease by −1.2 °C, while the hottest years will increase by +1.3 °C. During the major rainfall season (JJAS), the area has received an adequate amount of rainfall in the past and is very likely to receive similar rainfall in the future. On the other hand, the rainfall amount in the season February to May (FMAM) is expected to assist only with early planting. For the season October to January (ONDJ), the rainfall amount may help lengthen the growing season of JJAS if properly utilized; otherwise, the season has the potential to destroy crops before and during the harvesting time. The soil water content changes in the future remain close to those of the past period. The length of growing seasons has less variable onset and cessation dates, while in the future, the length of the growing period (LGP) of 174 to 177 days will be suitable for short- and long-cycle crops, as well as double cropping, benefiting crop production yield in the North-Western Ethiopian highlands in the future. Full article
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