Watson Institute for Internation and Public Affairs
Brown International Advanced Research Institutes


An Integrated Approach to Sustainable Crop Production Eastern and Western Africa

BIARI alumni funding was awarded to support the research of six alumni from the 2011 Climate Change Institute. BIARI funding allowed the alumni to convene at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University for a week in January 2012 and draft a proposal for a larger grant to support their project. The project seeks to review the relationship between climate change, water, and food security in Africa. African countries continue to rely on agriculture as the backbone of their economies. However, in the recent past, food production has faced critical challenges due to climate variability and weather extremes, thereby exacerbating food insecurity in Africa. This insecurity has the potential to contribute to widespread hunger and malnutrition.

Specifically, the alumni will conduct the following research. First, they will trace the history and dynamic interaction of climate change, water, and food security in Africa. Second, they will observe and analyze the current relationship between these variables in Africa using a composite of methods, including those derived from paleo-science, hydrology, agronomy, sociology, and economics. They will seek to analyze the impact of climate change on agricultural production and people’s livelihoods. Finally, the researchers will make projections about what is likely to happen in the future. It is hoped that results from this project can be used to inform better policy formulation and promote better farming practices, coping strategies, sustainable use of water resources and environmental management practices.