According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
It will take at least ten years to develop a variety of staple grain that will survive in the climates caused by global warming in most parts of Africa, and the continent has less than two decades in which to do it, warn the authors of a new study.It adds:
Six countries in the Sahel - Senegal, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Sierra Leone, the hottest in Africa - are of major concern to the researchers, as they will face conditions unlike any currently encountered by farmers in the continent.
"Of course, parts of these countries will never be able to grow maize [which is more heat sensitive]," he said, and would have to settle for the "drought-tolerant maize, which is sorghum". Many parts of Africa would no longer be able to grow anything.
Guarino said it was possible to develop crop varieties in simulated conditions, based on projections for the Sahel belt, but very few traditional primary cereal crops - African varieties of maize, millet and sorghum - selected by farmers over the centuries for their unique suitability to local growing conditions were available in genebanks.