AGRICA - Climate risk analyses for identifying and weighing adaptation strategies in sub-Saharan Africa

A project implemented by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

This project was commissioned and is conducted on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in close cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) as the implementing partner. Within this project, PIK carries out research on climate risks and adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa. This research is meant to support government and development actors in selected case study countries and beyond in prioritizing their adaptation investments.

  Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Context and objective

While most countries recognize the importance of adaptation to climate change, there is limited access to reliable information on climate risks and impacts which should inform adaptation decisions and goals. This is also true for the operationalisation of adaptation goals: How to translate goals into concrete actions? Hence, there is a need for science-based adaptation planning which requires sound climate risk analyses and assessment of potential adaptation strategies. To address this issue, the AGRICA project provides comprehensive climate risk analyses for selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa focusing on the evolving trends for temperature and precipitation, future water availability, future crop yields and the suitability of land for crop production. Based on this information, AGRICA analyses and identifies adaptation strategies regarding their feasibility, cost effectiveness and aptitude for local conditions. The findings are meant to inform national and sub-national adaptation planning including NDC and NAP development and review, but will also provide useful information and evidence at other planning and implementation levels.


All publications can be downloaded here and are also available on our project website.

Study approach

The underlying idea of the AGRICA project is to model the full impact chain and inform the selection of adaptation strategies which will help the agricultural sector to cope with a changing climate. Hence, the main objectives for each climate risk study are (1) a climate risk analysis with estimates for current and projected climate and weather-related risks and (2) an assessment of the costs and benefits of selected adaptation strategies as compared to non-action. These two components are reflected in the impact dimension and in the action dimension. The impact dimension looks at the interplay of a changing climate, water availability and agriculture, as well as vulnerability, while the action dimension takes a further step in assessing selected adaptation strategies with the help of a biophysical analysis, a cost-benefit analysis and a socioeconomic analysis.

To support an inclusive research process and to ensure that the results of AGRICA will be useful, the project puts a special emphasis on a continuous engagement of local stakeholders including representatives from government, civil society actors, NGOs, research institutes, farmers and private companies operating in the target countries and districts.

The results of the AGRICA project feed into in-depth climate risk studies as well as into climate risk profiles. The in-depth climate risk studies address the national and district level with a transnational study in the planning stage. National studies are available for Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana and Niger, in addition to a district-level study for Ghana. Further studies are currently being developed for Cameroon, Uganda and Zambia (to be completed in 2023). While much of climate policy and planning happens at the national level, the district level is equally important since many decisions regarding climate adaptation are ultimately made by extension officers and farmers. Hence, to raise awareness of climate risks and to support the selection and implementation of effective adaptation strategies, an integration of the district level is needed. The national and transnational studies investigate scenarios in the medium-term and long-term future (2030, 2050 and 2100), thereby offering important insights on major trends. The district studies, however, help to address the short-term future by providing relevant stakeholders with reliable information that will inform the immediate adaptation process. The results of these studies complement and feed into climate risk profiles. These profiles are shorter, easy to read and primarily based on the impact dimension, focusing on climate risks in a given country. As of now, climate risk profiles are being developed for Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. Further climate risk profiles are currently being developed for Cameroon and Zambia. In addition to the AGRICA project, climate risk profiles have been developed for other projects, including with UNHCR for the Sahel region or with the GIZ for Pakistan, as well as in collaboration with the Weathering Risk project (Somalia) and Climate Analytics (Malawi, Nigeria and Philippines)

The different modules of the in-depth climate risk studies follow a set of core components but can be adapted in a flexible manner depending on the national context and level of analysis.

Why sub-Saharan Africa?

In many developing and least developed countries, economic development is largely dependent on the agricultural sector. This is particularly true for sub-Saharan Africa, where agriculture contributes up to 50% of countries’ GDP and where up to 90% of the population are employed in the agricultural sector. However, agricultural production is increasingly threatened by climate change: Temperatures are rising, while the amount of rainfall is decreasing. Extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and storms are becoming more frequent, presenting a risk to agricultural production and food security. These climatic changes are accompanied by rapid population growth: Almost anywhere across sub-Saharan Africa, populations are growing at an annual rate of 2.5-3% so theoretically, more people will have to be fed with less food. Also, the standard of living is expected to rise, putting further pressure on food systems to provide better and more food. Therefore, adaptation is key in order to build climate-resilient agricultural systems.

Project duration

September 2018 - December 2023

Contact at PIK

For detailed information on the AGRICA project as well as on opportunities for collaboration and participation, please contact

Prof. Dr. Christoph Gornott (Project Lead):

Please, also visit our project website.