Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Published by the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Copyright 2011 Regents of the University of Nebraska.


Agricultural productivity growth is a necessary condition for food security. Climate is directly related to the ability of a region to produce food. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) reports that countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are likely to be severely affected by climate change and climate variability. Projections show that extreme heat and heavy precipitation are likely to become more frequent, affecting the ability of an already stressed area to produce cash as well as food crops. Most of SSA agriculture (96 percent of harvested acres) is rainfed, making crop yields very sensitive to the temporal and spatial variability of climate, especially rainfall.

SSA’s vulnerability to climate change is especially serious due to the dependency of its economy and the livelihood of its population on agriculture. On average, the agricultural sector accounts for about 21 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), reaching up to 70 percent in some countries. About 70 percent of the population in Africa lists agriculture as its primary source of employment.