A recent research has warned of an increase in the number of people at risk of hunger in Botswana, following projections that agricultural yields from farms in that country could decline due to the negative effects of climate change. The research was carried out by the Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC), a government owned institution assessing productivity in various economic sectors, including agriculture.
According to the research, Botswana’s population was expected to grow by more than 40% to about 3,4 million by 2050, farmers in that country were highly unlikely to meet the rising national demand for food. The researchers warned that with the current projected population growth, food demand in Botswana would almost double by 2050. To meet this need, grain production would have to increase by at least 40%, while irrigation water requirements were likely to increase by at least 50%.
One of the researchers of the BNPC, Masedi Mosa-Sebele, warned that due to projected drier and hotter conditions associated with climate change, both commercial and subsistence farmers could record a significant decline in output.
Reacting to the research report, government owned Statistics Botswana indicated that the agriculture sector had been identified as one of the most vulnerable to climate change in Botswana. According to the BNPC, the hotter and drier conditions were also expected to result in a decline in productivity in the livestock sector, which depended heavily on communal grazing.
Livestock productivity and stock numbers are threatened by the reduced quantity and quality of feedstock, and water stress due to climate change. The low agricultural production may [thus] result in increased food prices,” the research report stated.