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Document Abstract
Published: 2012

Agricultural GHGs in East and West Africa baseline emissions and mitigation potential

To reduce agricultural GHGs in Africa, we need to focus on activities that enhance carbon in soil and vegetation
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Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from agriculture are substantial. This paper looks into how can agricultural greenhouse gas emissions be reduced or sequestration enhanced while maintaining and even increasing food supply. The paper relies on a research undertaken in nine chosen African countries.

The authors reveal that croplands and grazing lands cover more than half of the East African countries’ lands and about 40% of the West African countries’ lands. In the nine African countries, the largest amount of GHG emissions is from the livestock sector, followed by emissions from soil only from due to the conversion of native ecosystems to cropland.

The paper concludes that:
  • given the common practices and magnitude of GHG emissions from livestock and fire in all examined countries, it is unlikely that very much can be done in the near future to reduce these emissions
  • however, given the low emissions from use of nitrogenous fertilisers and the low intensity of use there is an opportunity to increase the rate of application to improve crop production
  • this would reduce the need to clear native ecosystems for new croplands
  • in addition, those potential mitigation activities that enhance carbon in soil and vegetation are of great importance
  • indeed, the change in practices that include soil only result in considerable carbon sequestration rates (0.4-5 tons/hectare annually), while changes that include both soil and vegetation redouble these rates
The document figures that analyses are needed to improve the estimates of the mitigation potential through additional activities. Some key areas for further investigation are evaluation of alternatives for fire management and methods for fire control, and develop new techniques for improving management of grazing stock.
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Authors

S. Brown; A. Grais; S. Ambagis

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