Crops, crop pests and climate change - why Africa needs to be better prepared

Crops, crop pests and climate change - why Africa needs to be better prepared

Ongoing investments in agriculture will not deliver for Africa until the destabilising nature of crop pest events, especially shock outbreak events, are addressed. As a result of climate change, the prevalence of crop pests will change and the frequency of shock pest events will increase, putting agricultural systems at risk. The granularity of these changes, in terms of choices by farmers, cropping systems and markets, presents a critical challenge.
 
The following recommendations are put forward:
  • build capacity of plant health organisations, as key partners at the front-line against crop pests, in support of food security, trade and policy implementation
  • improve data gathering, centred on better understanding of critical metrics of crop pest impacts, extending beyond yield loss and encompassing economic and investment factors to improve prediction capabilities
  • enhance the understanding of risk behaviours of food chain stakeholders and their willingness to invest and adapt, to support increased adoption of technologies
  • improve fusion of disparate datasets and risk modelling of crop pest consequences for projections on farmer choices and cropping system at the landscape scale, informed by markets and policy
  • invest in pre-emptive crop pest resistance breeding against future high risk pests based on current and futured geographic distributions in order to avoid the consequences of shock pest episodes
  • take cognizance of the boundary-less nature of crop pests, and develop  regional supra-governmental capabilities for the analysis and articulation of horizon scanning and crop pest risk concerns under climate change
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