Climate change impact factors in ECOWAS
Appropriate responses to climate change in the agriculture sector are dependent on knowledge of the status and trends of the factors of the climate change impact chain in the sector. The objective of the study was to broadly assess key human, environmental, and biophysical factors in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), mainly within the decade following the launching of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). This was done through a review of literature and analysis of data mainly from international databases. The status of and changes in these factors were generally unsatisfactory. Population growth rate was high. Average daily maximum temperatures were projected to rise by up to 3.5⁰C by 2050. Up to 35 % of the lands were estimated to be severely to very severely degraded. Internal renewable water resources per capita were below international requirements in many countries of ECOWAS. Renewable water resources per capita were more abundant but decreased over years. The substantial arable land and renewable water resources and carbon stored in soil (23503 Tg t) and forest biomass (6304 Tg t) are attributes of ECOWAS. Agricultural production was higher in the Gulf of Guinea zone compared to the Sudano-Sahelian zone but yields of some crops were higher in the Sudano-Sahelian zone. Food security status was unsatisfactory across ECOWAS although the production of major crops (in most cases), livestock, fisheries and aquaculture increased. The increase for aquaculture was dramatic (847%). Increase in production was mainly due to increased crop area harvested or livestock numbers. Policies should be revisited, institutions strengthened and financial investments made for ECOWAS to realize its potential to significantly contribute to food security and carbon storage.