Strategising Climate Smart Agriculture

Climate change poses a significant threat to crop production in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The magnitude and pattern of these changes are expected to present severe threats to agroecologies and food systems, potentially shifting suitability for crop production (including root, tuber, and bananas, (RTB)). Data-driven evidence about potential shifts in crop suitability is critical to evolve local adaptation strategies for smallholder farmers, and to contextualise impacts of climate change on food systems.

Potential impacts of climate change on RTB crops are particularly problematic due to the importance of RTB crops to household food security and livelihoods in the continent and especially the Great Lakes Region (GLR) where smallholder farming systems are largely RTB-based. Despite their potential resilience of RTB crops to climate change and the critical role in strengthening food and nutrition security, limited knowledge exists regarding projected effects of climate change on their potential in the Great Lakes Region, compared to other crop groups. These challenges, opportunities, and knowledge gaps indicate the need for improved understanding of potential impacts of climate change on RTB crops in the GLR and beyond. They highlight the need for further insights to support farmers’ climate change adaptation strategies while guiding decision-makers to target research activities and funds towards improving the resilience of agricultural systems.

Spatially-explicit analysis of climate change impacts on RTB crops

A simple mechanistic crop suitability model was applied to generate insights into the impacts of climate change on crop (and crop variety) suitability and planting dates. The study was conducted in the Great Lakes Region (GLR) of central-Eastern Africa (Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda). The focus of this analysis was on four RTB crops: banana (Musa spp), cassava (Manihot esculenta), potato (Solanum tuberosum), and sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas). For each crop, four hypothetical varieties were analysed (typical, heat-tolerant, drought-tolerant, and early maturing). Spatially explicit modelling was performed for two climate time periods: baseline (1970-2000), and future (2040-2060) under RCP6.0. More information on the methodology and analysis can be found in Manners et al. here



Visualize crop specific impacts of climate-change scenarios on RTB crops.

Data Download

Baseline (1970-2000) and future (2040-2070) projections data available for download.

About Us

This project is a collaboration between the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), International Potato Center (CIP), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI), and Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. This research was undertaken as part of, and funded jointly by, the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), which is carried out with support from CGIAR Trust Fund and through bilateral funding agreements. For details please visit and

The views expressed in this document cannot be taken to reflect the official opinions of these organisations. Funding support for this work was provided by the Belgian Directorate General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGDC) through the Consortium for Improving Agricultural Livelihoods in Central Africa (CIALCA).

Project Participants

  • Elke Vandamme (CIP)

  • Rhys Manners (IITA)

  • Julius Adewopo (IITA)

  • Michael Friedmann (CIP)

  • Philip Thornton (ILRI)

  • Graham Thiele (RTB Program)

  • Kodjovi Senam Ezui (APNI)

  • Sebastien Carpentier (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT)

Associated Publications and Highlights

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