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Rural societies in the face of climatic and environmental changes in West Africa

 | 
Benjamin Sultan
, 
Richard Lalou
, 
Mouftaou Amadou Sanni
, 
et al.

Part II. Impacts of the climate and environmental changes

Chapter 10. The impacts of climate change on crop yields in West Africa

Benjamin Sultan, Philippe Roudier et Seydou Traoré

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Introduction

Climate has a very strong influence on farming, which is considered to be the human activity that is most dependent on climate variations (Oram, 1989; Hansen, 2002). The impacts of climate on agriculture vary from one part of the world to another, with particularly marked socioeconomic consequences in developing countries in the tropics. Indeed, these countries experience great climatic variability, such as the monsoon regime in India and West Africa and the influence on the American continent of El Niño events (Challinor et al., 2003). In many cases endemic poverty increases the risk and seriousness of natural catastrophes (UNPD, 2004).

The rural populations of sub-Saharan Africa are particularly exposed to climatic events as they are closely dependent on rainfed agriculture, practiced on nearly 93% of cultivated land. It is reminded that 80% of the cereals eaten in sub-Saharan Africa are produced by this traditional farming and that the farming sector employs 70% of the...

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