ILRI recommends more livestock THE IMPACT OF climate-induced crop failures in Africa could be avoided if more small farmers also raised livestock, researchers at the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute report.
They add that climate change will result in a 10–20 per cent drop in yield for crops such as beans, maize and millet in Africa's drylands by 2050, observing that farmers with livestock will increase incomes and reduce vulnerability.
"Across Africa, where rainfall will still be enough for some pasture production , including more livestock in the system may be one way in which households can cope," said Philip Thornton, an ILRI scientist and one of the co-authors, The study focused on arid and semi-arid regions where scant rainfall is already causing crops to fail.
They found that from 500,000 to one million square kilometres of farmland in these areas will be incapable of supporting even subsistence food crops by 2050. The researchers warn that the change to livestock farming must be done sustainably, for example by limiting the number of livestock in an area during dry conditions so the pasture can recover quickly.