Ecosystem Tipping Points Due to Variable Water Availability and Cascading Effects on Food Security in Sub‐Saharan Africa

ZEF - Working Paper 174

44 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2018

See all articles by Celestine Muli

Celestine Muli

University of Bonn - Center for Development Research (ZEF)

Nicolas Gerber

University of Bonn - Center for Development Research (ZEF)

Takalign Sakketa

University of Bonn - Department of Economic and Technological Change

Alisher Mirzabaev

University of Bonn - Center for Development Research (ZEF)

Date Written: October 15, 2018

Abstract

The frequency, duration, and magnitude of extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and variation in rainfall onset and cessation periods will continue to increase. Such stress may result in significant shifts in the functioning of ecosystems. As climate change affects the capacity of ecosystems to mitigate the effects of extreme events such as drought and floods, leading to disruptions in water supply and food production, or to the destruction of infrastructure, human well‐being is ultimately impacted. Chief among those impacts are those on the four dimensions of food security: food availability, accessibility, utilization, and stability. An interesting channel of impacts is through the observed and forecasted increase in the variability of water availability. This is said to cause uncertainty in agricultural production resulting in reduced productivity, food insecurity, weak economic growth and the widespread food poverty in Africa today. Due to overreliance on rain‐fed agriculture in Sub‐Saharan Africa, people usually engage in both temporary and permanent migration after consecutive years of bad harvests and reduced incomes from agriculture with migration acting as an adaptation strategy to climatic shocks. Food value chains can be significantly affected, something that the paper identifies as an area that requires further research mainly on the resilience of food value chains to water variability.

Keywords: ecosystem, climate change, water variability, migration, food security, food value chains, Sub Saharan Africa

JEL Classification: Q10, Q54, J43, J62

Suggested Citation

Muli, Celestine and Gerber, Nicolas and Sakketa, Takalign and Mirzabaev, Alisher, Ecosystem Tipping Points Due to Variable Water Availability and Cascading Effects on Food Security in Sub‐Saharan Africa (October 15, 2018). ZEF - Working Paper 174. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3266355 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3266355

Celestine Muli (Contact Author)

University of Bonn - Center for Development Research (ZEF) ( email )

Walter-Flex-Str. 3
Bonn, NRW 53113
Germany

Nicolas Gerber

University of Bonn - Center for Development Research (ZEF) ( email )

Walter-Flex-Strasse 3
Bonn, D-53113
Germany

Takalign Sakketa

University of Bonn - Department of Economic and Technological Change ( email )

Walter-Flex-Str. 3
Bonn, 53113
Germany

Alisher Mirzabaev

University of Bonn - Center for Development Research (ZEF) ( email )

Walter-Flex-Str. 3
Bonn, NRW 53113
Germany

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