New Crop Varieties Needed, and Fast
Crop yields will fall within the next decade due to climate change unless immediate action is taken to speed up the introduction of new and improved varieties, experts have warned.
The research, led by the University of Leeds and published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, focusses on maize in Africa but the underlying processes affect crops across the tropics.
Study lead author Professor Andy Challinor, from the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds, said: "In Africa, gradually rising temperatures and more droughts and heatwaves caused by climate change will have an impact on maize.
"We looked in particular at the effect of temperature on crop durations, which is the length of time between planting and harvesting. Higher temperatures mean shorter durations and hence less time to accumulate biomass and yield."