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Tropentag, September 17 - 19, 2018 in Ghent

"Global food security and food safety: The role of universities"

Effect of Intensification of Crop Management on Cereal Crop Yields under 1.5°C and 2.0°C Global Warming in the West African Sudan Savannah

Babacar Faye1, Heidi Webber1, Jesse B. Naab2, Dilys S MacCarthy3, Myriam Adam4, Frank Ewert1, John Lamers5, Carl-Friedrich Schleussner6, Alex Ruane7, Ursula Gessner8, Gerrit Hoogenboom9, Ken Boote9, Vakhtang Shelia9, Fahad Saeed6, Dominik Wisser10, Sofia Hadir1, Patrick Laux11, Thomas Gaiser1

1University of Bonn, Inst. Crop Sci. and Res. Conserv. (INRES), Germany
2West African Science Service Center for Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), Burkina Faso
3University of Ghana, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, Soil and Irrigation Research Centre, Ghana
4Centre de Coop. Internationale pour la Recherche Agronomique pour le Developpement (CIRAD), France
5University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF), Germany
6Climate Analytics, Climate Analytics, Germany
7NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, United States of America
8German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD), Germany
9University of Florida, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, United States of America
10UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Italy
11Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Inst. of Meteorology and Climate Research, Germany


Rainfed cereals are the main staple food crops in the West African Sudan Savannah. While current yield levels are low due in large part to the limited use of fertilisers, sustainable intensification of cropping systems is widely promoted in the region to improve food security and drive regional economic development. However, an important consideration is increased internannual yield variability and possible interactions with climate change, as this represents an important source of risk for farmers. This study assessed the effect of intensification on maize, pearl millet and sorghum yields under 1.5°C and 2.0°C global warming in the West African Sudan Savannah. Simulations were conducted with two crop models (DSSAT and Lintul5 embedded into the SIMPLACE modelling framework) at a spatial resolution of 0.25° under both current fertiliser use and optimum fertiliser application (intensification case). The models were calibrated with local varieties from field experiments in the region with management reflecting a range of typical sowing windows. Results indicated that yields simulated under intensification were two to three times higher than yields simulated under current fertiliser use, irrespective of the warming scenario. However, yield losses under climate change were slightly higher with intensification: 2% units higher for maize and sorghum with 2.0°C compared to 1.5°C warming, with no change in millet yields for either scenario. As expected, interannual variability increased with intensification compared to current fertiliser use, though there was no interaction with climate change scenario. In summary, it is suggested that intensification would much more than offset the negative impacts of climate change, though economics analysis is required to understand the implications for risk and constraints on market development needed to support intensification.

Keywords: 1.5°C, climate change, intensification, West Africa

Contact Address: Babacar Faye, University of Bonn, Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES), Katzenburgweg 5, Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation Crop Science Group, Bonn, Germany, e-mail: babafaye@uni-bonn.de

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