On the 16th of January ISRA (Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and MTT Agrifood Research Finland organized a workshop on the impacts of and adaptation to climate change. The workshop was held at ISRA headquarters in Dakar, Sénégal. The goal of the event was to present preliminary results of the project and to discuss the next steps in the analysis. Besides FoodAfrica partners, the participants were researchers, students and other experts working in relevant fields of agriculture and development – from organizations such as CIRAD and IPAR (Initiative for Rural Agricultural Futures).
The main themes that were discussed during the workshop were modeling the impacts of climate change on pastoral systems and on integrated farming systems. One of the research lines in WP3 is focusing on extensive pastoral livestock husbandry. It is an important economic activity and source of food in Ferlo, which is a semi-arid region in the Northern Senegal with little cultivated land, low rainfall and poor soils. Like many other regions, this region is challenged by population growth and climate change.
Transhumance, i.e. seasonal movement of animals in extensive livestock husbandry and people to access pasture is a common form of animal husbandry and a way to adapt to poor weather conditions. A field study carried out by ISRA suggests that the main motivation to practice transhumance is to secure the animal stock. In addition, there are other factors driving this behavior, such as access to services. Modeling work has been carried out within the FoodAfrica programme to capture the decisions of pastoralists around transhumance, and it suggests that transhumance is practiced due to the seasonal variations in the availability of feed being a constraint in extensive animal husbandry, and also due to economic reasons (based on the value of animal products).
Another line of research within work package 3 of FoodAfrica is focusing on measuring the potential impact of climate-related shocks to farm household incomes within the mixed crop-livestock farming systems. By using the TradeOff Analysis (TOA) model, developed at Oregon State University, the researchers in Work Package 3 of FoodAfrica have focused on examining how climate change is expected to affect different types of agriculture in the southern and central regions of Senegal. In this region a lot of export agricultural goods, such as groundnuts in the “Peanut Basin” are being produced, as well as cereals like maize, sorghum, millet and some horticulture.
The Work Package 3 FoodAfrica team has also been working on a developing a customized multi-market model for Senegal, in order to simulate the sector-wide impacts of climate change in key sub-regions of the country. Since agriculture is a major economic sector, it is important to take into account the market-level links between different commodities, as well as the wider economics implications that affect household incomes. The design of this model was discussed during the workshop, along with a preview of potential applications and results. This model will be linked with the farm-level analysis of the TOA model, as well as with the livestock modeling as those modules develop in the course of 2014.