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Climate Change Threatens Staple Crops in Africa, Study Says

Up to 60% of areas that currently grow beans, and up to 30% of areas that grow maize and bananas could no longer be suitable in a warmer climate. Fundamental changes to farming may be needed in the coming decades to maintain food security, the researchers say.

Last week, Carbon Brief reported on how climate change could slow progress towards curbing malnutrition across the world. That research warned rising temperatures could affect availability of fruit, vegetables and staple crops.

In today’s study, just published in Nature Climate Change, another group of scientists looks at how climate change could make areas of sub-Saharan Africa unsuitable for growing similarly important crops.

The researchers picked nine major crops that make up around half of all the food grown in Africa. Using crop models, they simulated whether those fruits, vegetables and cereals could still be grown as the climate is predicted to change during this century.

Their results suggest that if carbon emissions aren’t cut, large swathes of Africa will be unviable for growing such key crops as maize, beans and bananas.

Christopher Griner

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