Climate change and food security in sub-Saharan Africa

2010 June 1

Thompson. H., Berrang-Ford, L., and Ford, J. Sustainability. (8), 2719-2733. Download PDF.

In recent years it has become clear that climate change is an inevitable process. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the expectation is that climate change will have an especially negative impact, not only a result of projected warming and rainfall deficits, but also because of the vulnerability of the population. The impact upon food security will be of great significance, and may be defined as being composed of three components: availability, access, and utilization. To further investigate the link, a systematic literature review was done of the peer-reviewed literature related to climate change and food security, employing the realist review method. Analysis of the literature found consistent predictions of decreased crop productivity, land degradation, high market prices, negative impacts on livelihoods, and increased malnutrition. Adaptation strategies were heavily discussed as a means of mitigating a situation of severe food insecurity across the entire region. This is linked to issues of development, whereby adaptation is essential to counteract the negative impacts and improve the potential of the population to undergo development processes. Findings additionally revealed a gap in the literature about how nutrition will be affected, which is of importance given the links between poor nutrition and lack of productivity.

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