GEOLINKS International Conference 2020, Book 1
AIR POLLUTION AND CLIMATE CHANGE
CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE AGRICULTURAL POTENTIAL OF SELECTED LEGUME CROPS IN EAST AFRICA
Mr. Elvis Tangwa, Prof. Vit Voženílek, Dr. Jan Brus, Assoc. Prof. Vilem Pechanec
Land expansion to increase agricultural production in East Africa (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) will be limited by climate change. In this study, we predict landscape suitability for chickpea (Cicer arietinum), common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), lentil (Lens culinaris), field pea (Pisum sativum) and pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) cultivated across diverse agro-ecological zones (AEZs) in East Africa from 1970 to 2070, under the 4.5 emission scenario. We aimed to understand how suitability shifts among the AEZs might affect the agricultural potential of the selected crops. We use the geolocations of each crop together with response curves from the species distribution software, Maxent to fine-tune the expert-based EcoCrop model to the prevailing climatic conditions in the study region.
Our optimal precipitation and temperature ranges compared reasonably with the FAO base parameters, deviating by ±200mm and ±5oC, respectively. There is currently a high potential for lentil, pea and common bean in the region. However, under future climates, the suitability of common bean and lentil with a much narrow climate range will shrink considerably while pigeon pea and chickpea will continue to be suitable. Under projected climatic conditions, the agricultural potential of these legumes will be limited by drought or heat stress as landscape suitability will shift optimally toward the cool sub-humid (tcsh), and the cool semi-arid (tcsa) zones. Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda will be the most affected and will lose a large share of suitable arable land.
Different adaptation measures will be needed to increase the agricultural potential and optimized production in vulnerable AEZs. In general, smallholder farmers will have to substitute lentil and common bean for chickpea and pigeon pea or other suitable substitutes to address food security issues. Notwithstanding the limitations of this study, our results highlight the vulnerability of legumes crops as well as their production zones which could be useful in the formulation of adaptation strategies for the East African region.
climate change, EcoCrop, legumes, agro-ecological zone, East Africa.