Assessing the Impact of Climate and Change and Variability on Irish Potato (Solanum Tuberosum L. ) Production from 1995 to 2015 in Tubah Sub Division, North West Region, Cameroon
Climate change and variability are common phenomena that affect crop productivity globally but with significant differences between different regions of the world. Studies of the impacts of these phenomena on Irish potato –Solanum tuberosum L.-production within Tubah Sub-Division based on records of precipitation and temperatures from 1995 to 2015, indicated an increasing mean annual temperature rate of 0.09 0C per year and a slight increasing annual rainfall rate of 25.8 mm per year. Potato yields within the same period equally increased by 1.26 t/ha per year until 2012 when the yields started decreasing due to a correspondingly marked increase in both temperature and rainfall. The drop in potato yields has also been attributed to disease infestation such as potato blight and rot which are favoured by the increases in temperature and rainfall. Statistical correlation and regression analyses of these data revealed that the potato yields showed weak positive correlations with temperature (R= 0.02) and with rainfall (R= 0.12). Results from questionnaire survey, focus group discussions and semistructured interviews indicated that the potato crop (63 %) of most farmers were negatively affected by climate change and variability through the increased sporadic rainfall which enhanced potato blight and rot. Some adaptation strategies to these climatic factors are already being practised by most farmers (81 %) who are making use of a combination of fertilizers, pesticides, improved seeds and irrigation practices to remedy the situation although further approaches such as the use of resistant species are necessary towards improving on the dwindling potato yields.
Keywords: Climate, Change, Variability, Tubah Sub Division, Irish Potato, Adaptation Strategies, Cameroon.