Measuring the economic impact of climate change on major South African field crops: a Ricardian approach

Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA), Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Global and Planetary Change (Impact Factor: 3.71). 07/2005; DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2004.10.009

ABSTRACT This study employed a Ricardian model to measure the impact of climate change on South Africa's field crops and analysed potential future impacts of further changes in the climate. A regression of farm net revenue on climate, soil and other socio-economic variables was conducted to capture farmer-adapted responses to climate variations. The analysis was based on agricultural data for seven field crops (maize, wheat, sorghum, sugarcane, groundnut, sunflower and soybean), climate and edaphic data across 300 districts in South Africa. Results indicate that production of field crops was sensitive to marginal changes in temperature as compared to changes in precipitation. Temperature rise positively affects net revenue whereas the effect of reduction in rainfall is negative. The study also highlights the importance of season and location in dealing with climate change showing that the spatial distribution of climate change impact and consequently needed adaptations will not be uniform across the different agro-ecological regions of South Africa. Results of simulations of climate change scenarios indicate many impacts that would induce (or require) very distinct shifts in farming practices and patterns in different regions. Those include major shifts in crop calendars and growing seasons, switching between crops to the possibility of complete disappearance of some field crops from some region.


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