By Faraja Ntilulagomba – Art in Tanzania Internship
‘Climate Change’ denotes to long-term change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns (e.g., temperature, precipitation etc.) over decades to millions of years of time. Climate on earth has changed over millions of years since the beginning long before human activity could have played a role in its transformation.
But the United Nation of Framework Conservation on Climate Change (UNFCCC), defined Climate Change as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”. However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) definition of climate change includes changes due to natural variability alongside human activity. Australian Government’s DCCEE, on its website described Climate Change- ‘our climate is changing, largely due to the observed increases in human produced greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases absorb heat from the sun in the atmosphere and reduce the amount of heat escaping into space. This extra heat has been found to be the primary cause of observed changes in the climate system over the 20th century’.
Thus, in the environmental discourse different stakeholders have characterized Climate Change as mainly the change in modern climate augmented by human activities. The adverse human activities for example are burning of fossil fuel or deforestation, which are considered likely to bring change in some climatic aspects.
Climate change is the global phenomenon of climate transformation characterized by the changes in the usual climate of the planet (regarding temperature, precipitation, and wind) that are especially caused by human activities or climate change is “a broad range of global phenomena created predominantly by burning fossil fuels, which add heat-trapping gases to Earth’s atmosphere. Some aspects or examples of climate changes include increase in temperature (which is global warming), drought, floods, ozone layer depletion, shrinking ice sheets, rise in sea level, ocean acidification, greenhouse gases etc. Some causes of climate change are Industrial activities, meteorite impacts, quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, burning of fossil fuel, deforestation etc. According to Rahman M.I(2012) said that Climate Change, the most uttered environmental term of present time has been used to refer to the change in modern climate brought predominantly by human beings.
European Research on Climate change funded by Seventh Framework Programme said that Climate change is arguably among the most pressing societal challenges of our times, and now certainly the most well-known amongst the public. From initial observations of global warming and proposed ideas about the root causes, a steady consensus has built up that climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world in the near future. It is very clearly stated in the recently released 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the physical science basis, that global warming is mostly caused by human activities.
Agriculture can be defined as the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other
products. It involves crop cultivation and animal keeping. Agriculture is a critical economic sector, representing 29.1 percent of Tanzania’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and almost three quarters of the productive workforce. Moreover, it is the main source of food, industrial raw materials, and foreign exchange earnings. Since Tanzania is endowed with a diversity of climatic and geographical zones, farmers grow a wide variety of annual and permanent crops. This includes food and cash crops as well as fruits, vegetables, and spices. Major agricultural exports include tea, coffee, tobacco, cotton, and cashew nuts. In addition, some farmers raise livestock including cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, and chicken as well as small numbers of turkeys, ducks, rabbits, donkeys, and horses.
In Tanzania climate change affects agricultural activities. The following are negative impacts of Climate change on agriculture in Tanzania.
Reduction of Productivity in agriculture; for example, increase in temperature, drought, and floods can decrease the rate of production in agricultural sectors. Increase in temperature lead the dry of crops like maize and beans hence results low in production to farmers.
Reduction of water availability; for example, drought can result in loss of water in the agricultural sector. Water is the primary medium through which we will feel the effects of climate change. Also, water availability is becoming less predictable in many places, and increased incidences of flooding threaten to destroy water points and sanitation facilities and contaminate water sources. Higher temperatures and more extreme, less predictable, weather conditions are projected to affect availability and distribution of rainfall, snowmelt, river flows, and groundwater, further deteriorating water quality and insufficient supply of water. Due to these irrigation activities in the agricultural sectors, plant growth may fail due to lack of moisture in the soil.
Destruction of plants and decrease in number of animals; for example, Global warming affects plants and animals, some of which may die. Most plants and animals live in areas with very specific climate conditions, such as temperature and rainfall patterns, that enable them to thrive. Any change in the climate of an area can affect the plants and animals living there, as well as the makeup of the entire ecosystem. Some species are already responding to a warmer climate by moving to cooler locations. For example, some animals and plants in Tanzania are moving farther in other place or to higher elevations to find suitable places to live. Climate change also alters the life cycles of plants and animals. For example, as temperatures get warmer, many plants are starting to grow and bloom earlier in the spring and survive longer into the fall. Some animals are waking from hibernation sooner or migrating at different times, too.
Increase of evapo-transpiration; for example, increase in temperature result loss of water from water bodies by evaporation and loss of water from plants by transpiration. So excessive loss of water from plants results the decrease or loss of water in other soil, so crops or plants my fail to grow due to lack of moisture in the soil.
Decrease of income to farmers; This because climate change like global warming, ozone layer depletion, drought, and floods result low in production in agricultural sector hence income decreases because farmer have a low crop yield
Soil erosion: Increasing in available moisture, also called effective precipitation, would tend to promote both runoff and soil erosion on the one hand, and vegetation cover on the other. Since vegetation reduces erosion, we have another case of the result hinging on the net effects of “competing” processes. Effective precipitation result floods so hence lead soil erosion, this results the loss of nutrients hence bringing less growth of crops in agricultural sector.
Destruction of agricultural infrastructures, for example high rainfall and increase in temperature result the loss of vegetations. Also, floods may cause land degradation. So, climate change result destruction of agricultural infrastructure.
Delay of plant or crop growth, for example, when there are seasonal rainfall plants or crops my lack water for growth. When there are no rainfall crops may fail to grow and develop but if there is minimum rainfall crops mat develop and grow.
Reducing crop quality, due to the reduced growth period following high levels of temperature rise; reduced sugar content, bad coloration, and reduced storage stability in fruits; increase of weeds, blights, and harmful insects in agricultural crops.
Reducing land fertility; Due to the accelerated decomposition of organic substances; and increased soil erosion due the increased rainfall.
Therefore, Climate change is a rapidly growing concern for the Government of Tanzania and development partners alike. Policy and strategy processes related to climate change must be undertaken in some sectors in order to reduce climate change aspects, Climate change is a cross cutting issue affecting a number of sectors including forestry, agriculture, water, lands, energy, infrastructure, and others. So, we need to take action on climate change action (mitigation and adaptation) in order to reduce the effects of climate change on agricultural sector in Tanzania.
- Arndt, Channing; Farmer, William; Strzepek, Kenneth; Thurlow, James. 2012. Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in Tanzania.