Adapting to Climate Uncertainty in African Agriculture: Narratives and knowledge politics

  • Published 13/10/15
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  • ISBN: 9781138849334

By Stephen Whitfield 
Routledge, 2016

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Adapting to Climate Uncertainty in African Agriculture by Stephen WhitfieldFuture climatic and agro-ecological changes in Africa are uncertain and associated with high degrees of spatial and temporal variability and this change is differently simulated within divergent climate-crop models and in controlled crop breeding stations. Furthermore, uncertainty emerges in local contexts, not just in response to climatic systems, but to social, economic, and political systems, and often with implications for the appropriateness and adoption of technologies or the success of alternative cropping systems.

This book examines the challenges of adaptation in smallholder farming in Africa, analysing the social, economic, political and climatic uncertainties that impact on agriculture in the region and the range of solutions proposed. Drawing on case studies of genetically modified crops, conservation agriculture, and other ‘climate smart’ solutions in eastern and southern Africa, the book identifies how uncertainties are framed ‘from above’ as well experienced ‘from below’, by farmers themselves. It provides a compelling insight into why ideas about adaptation emerge, from whom, and with what implications.

This book offers a unique perspective and will be highly relevant to students of climate change adaptation, food security and poverty alleviation, as well as policy-makers and field practitioners in international development and agronomy.

Part of the STEPS Centre’s Pathways to Sustainability book series.


‘”No matter whether you agree with his framing of the issues or his conclusions, this book is essential reading for all working in the broad fields of agricultural research and development studies. Stephen Whitfield breaks new ground in a brave and timely ‘political agronomy’ analysis of the knowledge agenda relating to the impacts of climate variability and change on African smallholder agriculture. You will be challenged to rethink your own approaches and assumptions on issues central to future food production in Africa.”
Ken Giller, Professor of Plant Production Systems, Wageningen University, Netherlands

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