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Projections of Future Peanut Yields in Senegal

Paper Reviewed
Faye, B., Webber, H., Diop, M., Mbaye, M.L., Owusu-Sekyere, J.D., Naab, J.B. and Gaiser, T. 2018. Potential impact of climate change on peanut yield in Senegal, West Africa. Field Crops Research 219: 148-159.

For much of West Africa, peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is a key food and oil seed crop. Cultivated mainly on smaller farms, it provides the chief source of income in rural areas. Consequently, there is growing interest in how yields of this important crop might be altered in the future in response to projections of climate change.

Seeking to provide some information in this regard, Faye et al. (2018) utilized the data from six field experiments at two sites in Senegal to calibrate a series of models in an effort to simulate future peanut yields according to two future climate change scenarios (IPCC scenarios RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, which project a 1 and 1.2 °C increase in temperatures in Senegal by mid-century, respectively). The ensuing projections allowed them to gain insight on the interaction of warming temperature, crop water status (i.e., drought stress) and the fertilization effect of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations on future peanut yields.

In describing the results of their simulations, Faye et al. say that "under future climatic conditions, positive changes of up to 2.4% for RCP4.5 and 8.3% for RCP8.5 for seed yield were found [in the dry season] when increasing atmospheric CO2 is taken into account." And in the rainy season, they note that "seed yield increased by 11.0% for RCP4.5 and 19.0% for RCP8.5." Consequently, they conclude that when the positive impacts of elevated CO2 on crop growth are included, simulations of future climate change "result in modest positive increase[s] in peanut yields for Senegal."

Commenting on these projections, Faye et al. write that "as peanut is currently the country's most important cash crop, as well as [an] important food security crop, these results are encouraging and in broad agreement with a recent study by Hathie et al. (2017) and contrary to the expectation that climate change will inevitably lead to yield losses for West African agriculture mainly for cereals (Roudier et al., 2011; Sultan et al., 2013)."

References
Hathie, I., MacCarthy, D.S., Valdivia, R., Antle, J. and Adam, M. 2017. Trade policy implications of climate change impacts on current and future agricultural systems in the semi-arid regions of West Africa. In: International Technical Conference on Climate Change, Agricultural Trade and Food Security, 15-17 November 2017. FAO, Rome, Italy.

Roudier, P., Sultan, B., Quirion, P. and Berg, A. 2011. The impact of future climate change on West African crop yields: what does the recent literature say? Global Environmental Change 21: 1073-1083.

Sultan, B., Roudier, P., Quirion, P., Alhassane, A., Muller, B., Dingkuhn, M., Ciais, P., Guimberteau, M., Traore, S. and Baron, C. 2013. Assessing climate change impacts on sorghum and millet yields in the Sudanian and Sahelian savannas of West Africa. Environmental Research Letters 8: 014040.

Posted 9 July 2018