Climate Change and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa - PI_3 Weather-related impacts on crop yields and food production

Agricultural production is strongly dependent on local weather conditions, in addition to the general socio-economic environment. Hence, future agricultural production, food prices and trade will be affected by global climate change. While most industrial countries will be affected rather modestly, some of the biggest negative impacts with respect to food availability and undernutrition can be expected for Sub-Saharan Africa. For smallholder and subsistence farmers and their families in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, years with crop yield losses often result in insufficient child nutrition status and lead to decreasing survival rates. Yield losses and yield failures are projected to occur with increasing frequency in a changing climate. To further explore this link, there is a need to widen the analysis both in terms of regional scope (bringing the assessment to household, district and national scale) as well as in terms of exploring varying degrees of food security and health impacts from yield losses. To get a more comprehensive picture of weather-attributable yield losses on health impacts, the socio-economic factors such as price increases and income effects also need to be considered. This research therefore intends to address these questions in more detail. To do so, the project will further develop the semi-empirical crop modelling approach to provide assessments for yield impacts for key crops for the entire countries under study (Kenya, Burkina Faso), which will allow to identify hotspots and degrees of food insecurity, including price effects at different market locations. This crop modelling approach differentiates between weather-related and non-weather-related yield influences (Albers et al. 2017) and can provide information on crop yield failures to allow farmers to adjust their agronomic management and increase their adaptive capacity to climate change (Schauberger et al. 2017).

The objectives which PIK’ s team is working on in this project are to: (1) Determine the observed influence of weather on crop yields (2) Determine additional factors which influence the food availability and stability situation of farmers at sub-national and national level, i.e. how are subsistence farmers affected by food production changes (3) Contribute with climate-agricultural impact models to analyse the impact chain along weather, crop yield, and food production status (4) Assess the influence of weather on crop yields, food availability and food security status change in a changing climate (5) Upscale along the modelling chain from specific populations to subnational and national level.


Jun 01, 2021 until May 31, 2024

Funding Agency

DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Funding Call

Themenoffene Ausschreibung zur Förderung von Forschergruppen im Bereich Public Health


Hermann Lotze-Campen/Christoph Gornott