According to a study revealed by the Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Cropping Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa (Simlesa), climate change is costing Tanzania some $96.6million every year in crop losses.
Funded by Australia, Simlesa released a study on 20.02.19, that says climate change is affecting annual crop production causing losses of over 300 000 tonnes of staples like maize and legume yields.
To bring it to perspective that is almost 2 per cent (1.65%) of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Titled, Country Synthesis Report 2018, the study was released at the launch of a seminar on Conservation Agriculture Technologies held in Arusha at the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (Tari).
Speaking at the event, Simlesa’s Local Coordinator Dr John Sariah, said conservation agriculture for sustainable intensification (Casi) technologies was one of the climate smart technologies tested and validated by the project to address low productivity.
According to Dr Sariah, Conservation Agriculture Technologies have the ability to increase maize production to 4.5 tonnes/ha.
Without application of these smart interventions, the study revealed that an hectare of maize is only producing a mere1.2 tonnes per hectare and production of maize continues to fall consistently over the years.
Climate Smart Technology
Technically known as Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification (Casi) Technologies, Casi stands for climate smart technology that is meant to provide solutions to the negative effects of climate change on agriculture.
It has so far been tested across five sub-Saharan countries including Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania.
The technology is geared at reducing low productivity that is caused by bad weather condition as climate change impacts African countries with a great toll.
As such, Casi, aims to create food security by increasing productivity by the use of climate change resilient systems.
Climate Change Effect on Agriculture
As early as 2015 scientific reports warned of the adverse effects that climate change will have on food security. A report titled ‘Yield gap analysis for Tanzania – The impacts of climate, management, and socio-economic impacts on maize yields,’ warned that ‘Food security will be the biggest challenge for Tanzania in the next decades.’
The report says, even though Tanzania has a diverse ecosystem it is endangered because it has not adapted agronomic practices.
When it comes to addressing the effects of climate change; ‘Current innovation strategies focus mostly either on the issue of food security or on environmental damages, but rarely on both issues,’ the report says.
It is estimated that maize accounts for 40 per cent of the total land cultivated in Tanzania and it is the staple that is relied on by almost 80 per cent of the country.