Climate variability and yields of major staple food crops in Northern Ghana
AbstractClimate variability, the short-term fluctuations in average weather conditions and agriculture affect each other. Climate variability affects the agroecological and growing conditions of crops and livestock, and is recently believed to be the greatest impediment to the realisation of the first Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty and food insecurity in arid and semi-arid regions of developing countries. Conversely, agriculture is a major contributor to climate variability and change by emitting greenhouse gases and reducing the agroecology’s potential for carbon sequestration. What however, is the empirical evidence of this inter-dependence of climate variability and agriculture in Sub-Sahara Africa? In this paper, we provide some insight into the long run relationship
between inter-annual variations in temperature and rainfall, and annual yields of the most important staple food crops in Northern Ghana. Applying pooled panel data of rainfall, temperature and yields of the selected crops
from 1976 to 2010 to cointegration and Granger causality models, there is cogent evidence of cointegration between seasonal, total rainfall and crop yields; and causality from rainfall to crop yields in the Sudano-Guinea
Savannah and Guinea Savannah zones of Northern Ghana. This suggests that inter-annual yields of the crops have been influenced by the total amounts of rainfall in the planting season. Temperature variability over the study period is however stationary, and is suspected to have minimal effect, if any, on crop yields. Overall, the results confirm the appropriateness of our attempt in modelling long-term relationships between the climate and crop yield variables.