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The impact of weather on poverty and the prices of food in tropical Africa

prices of food in africa

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The impact of weather on poverty and the prices of food in tropical Africa

Number two of the Sustainable Development Goals, developed in 2016, looks at “Zero Hunger” by 2030. Unfortunately, hunger and malnutrition remain a significant barrier to development in many regions, including Africa.

 

Oxfam stated in one of their reports that over 60million are facing a food crisis, but the public has not heard about it. This figure is roughly the same as the number of refugees in the world.

 

Also, local climatic shocks are likely to have detrimental impacts on food production patterns, prices and even on consumptions as the extreme weather conditions can lead to blockage of main roads, railway tracks, harbours and transportation of food across borders will surely become expensive.

 

Research asserts that extreme weather events will keep people weak in many parts of the world.  The authors argue that where disasters like floods and drought are frequent, they are like to be the most essential cause of poverty.

 

Up to 325 million people will be living in countries highly exposed to natural hazards related to the weather by 2030, the report suggests.  If aid is not used to reduce these risks, the progress made in fighting poverty could disappear.

 

In developed countries, checking the weather forecast is essential when planning a weekend trip, but most likely in tropical Africa, it can make the difference between putting food on the table and going hungry.

 

According to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), extreme changes in weather increase the risks of hunger and undernutrition through floods and climate-related disasters that have the potential to destroy crops and critical infrastructure.

 

For more than 40 years, WFP has been helping people whose lives depend on the vagaries of the weather. For these people, the accelerated changes in climate in recent decades have spelt misery, loss and hunger.

 

Erratic rains, conflict and stubbornly high food prices are exacerbating hunger across tropical Africa, extreme weather can be the ‘most important cause of poverty.

 

For the tropical farmers, the timely weather forecast is relevant to their everyday farming activities,

they need accurate information about the weather conditions at their location at every point in time for better decision making.

 

Knowing accurate weather forecasts allows farmers to time their planting accurately, irrigation, tilling, equipment hire, harvesting and transport of farm produce, and it allows for effective planning and application of the various farming inputs; such as pesticide, fertiliser, and irrigation.

 

It was reported that from 2007 to 2010, climatic factors indisputably contributed to the price rises of agricultural produce. Therefore climate change will cause some adjustment of production patterns used by various agro-businessman.

 

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said 2018’s big freeze in the USA and heatwave would end up costing consumers about £7 extra per month. It follows price warnings from farmers’ representatives about peas, lettuces and potatoes.

 

The occurrence of agricultural distresses caused by extreme weather events has risen sharply over the past decade, and the resulting surge in food commodity prices has hit not only consumers but everybody in the food supply chain, including farmers, agricultural traders and food manufacturers.

 

The factors driving the dramatic increases in food prices and poverty over the past two years are numerous and still very much debated? Much of these reasons have been blamed on poor weather in significant food exporting countries, including unpredictable rainfalls.

 

Climate change will increasingly drive extreme weather shocks that will cause more dramatic spikes in future global food prices, according to international relief and development organisation Oxfam America.

 

In a new report, Extreme Weather, Extreme Prices, Oxfam shows that the full impact of climate change on future food prices is being underestimated.  Current research only tends to consider these gradual impacts of climate change on food prices, such as increasing temperatures and changing rainfall patterns.

 

Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns hold back crop production and cause steady but significant price rises.  But extreme weather events – like flooding – can wipe out entire harvests and trigger dramatic food price spikes in just a few hours.

 

In the long run, the increase in food prices will cause less privilege to spend the little on food thereby deepening their depths of poverty. By the way, this is currently happening in Africa, Nigeria for example, where masses cannot afford three square meal per day as a result of the hike prices of food products.

 

Changes in rainfall and other forms of precipitation will be one of the most critical factors determining the overall impact of climate change. Rain is much more difficult to predict than temperature, but new tech solutions are being implemented across the globe to ensure food security for farmers and communities.

 

Research has shown that most tropical Africa countries are rain fed and the excessive rain is not being well utilised for crop production activities, for this reason, most of the farmers operate on the subsistence level.

 

It is the changes in weather patterns that make predicting rainfall particularly tricky for the tropical farmer. While different climate models are in broad agreement about future warming on a global scale, when it comes to predicting how these changes will impact weather – and consequently rainfall – there is less agreement at an individual level.

 

It is likely that in a warmer climate heavy rainfall will increase and be produced by fewer more intense events. This could lead to longer dry spells and a higher risk of floods.

 

However, the latest generation of localised weather forecasting models represented by Ignitia scales down to 8km and can capture these restricted features. Ignitia’s prediction model is 84% more accurate than the global model which is 32%.

 

However, the 21st century localised weather forecasting models are now being provided by a smart climate company, Ignitia.  Ignitia service scales down to 8km and captures these unpredictable climate events. Ignitia’s prediction model is 84% more accurate than the global model which is 32%.

 

If farmers can predict the weather more accurately, there could be an end to inappropriate farming practices and disaster related to the weather that more or less affect the supply chain of food, increasing the price and casting the shadows of poverty on less privileged communities.

 

Furthermore, if a farmer could forecast the weather more accurately, there could be an end to unplanned farming practices, and it’s related poverty driven disasters.

 

These practices related to the fact that unpredictable weather more or less affects the food supply chain which increases the price of farm produce that is not affordable by the less privileged in the society thus increasing the level of poverty and starvation.

 

Ignitia as a company is ready to support all their subscribers to the last stage of farming activities from field clearing to the transportation of goods to the market for consumption.

 

Ignitia is also readily available to proffer solutions to the weather forecasting problems faced by the NGOs, Inputs provides, Agri-industries, all these fields depend primarily on the accurate weather forecast that Ignitia is ready to offer them. Ignitia’s solution comes with a ‘Web Dashboard.’ offering three key features

  •    an interactive weather map
  •    an insights board.
  •    a communications portal

 

The interactive weather map has a 48-hour forecast updating with real-time thunderstorms, rainfall, wind, wind gusts, evaporation, and temperature, along with the ability to select individual farmers by their GPS locations.

 

It is also able to track and display historical weather data dating back 15 years and critical weather data including wind speed, gust, humidity and wind direction.

 

Òjò’s Insight board is developed entirely into visual representations and data breakdowns on weather insights and requested user profiling.

 

The user communications portal will allow users to engage with their farmers directly. By sending customised SMS messages by known demographic or forecast, users can include agronomical, educational and other types of information to messages and communicate directly through the portal.

 

The òjò suite is currently accessible as a web dashboard online, making it available anywhere in the world. Ignitia aims to make it easier for you to report and demonstrate how farmers use and are impacted by the forecasts.

 

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