Better millet than corn and beans

Better millet than corn and beans

Millet instead of corn and beans: climate change is forcing Africa to change course
The clock is ticking - especially in Africa. In some places there is not much time left to adapt agricultural practice to changing climate conditions in order to avoid food shortages. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now specified the need for action in a study.

Countries such as Niger, Senegal and The Gambia, which are near and south of the Sahara, would have to start converting their food crops immediately. Countries that are a little further away from the Sahara Belt, such as Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana, would have about ten years to convert the emphasis on maize, according to the scientists' calculations.

The problem: In many of these countries, a lot of corn is traditionally consumed and therefore also grown. It will therefore take a certain amount of time to persuade the population and farmers to switch to less water-intensive millet or sorghum cultivation and to consume it. Angola, South Africa and Uganda would have until the middle of the century to switch from the previously popular beans to other, drought-tolerant crops.

It is therefore time not only to take care of the slowdown in climate change, but to develop very specific adaptation strategies if entire regions are not to lose their livelihood. By the end of the century, the growing potential of three important staple foods would drop sharply: up to 30 percent of the corn and banana growing areas and up to 60 percent of the bean growing areas would be affected, the scientists said. One problem may be that this process is progressing very slowly. A second is the difficult to implement agricultural advice due to widespread smallholder structures. (Friederike Heidenhof, aid)

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