Assessing the Impact of Climate Change and Variability on Sweet Potatoes in East Africa

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Sunday, 2 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Saul D. Ddumba, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI; and J. Andresen, J. A. Winkler, N. J. Moore, and J. Olson

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges to food security for the rapidly increasing population of East Africa. Rainfall is becoming more variable and temperatures are rising, consequently leading to increased occurrence of droughts and floods, and, changes in the timing and length of growing seasons. These changes have serious implications on crop production with the greatest impact likely to be on C4 crops such as cereals compared to C3 crops such as root tubers. In this study we focus on sweet potatoes, a drought and heat tolerant crop that is among the four most important food crops in East Africa. We identify the major climatic constraints to sweet potatoes and examine the impact of projected future climates on sweet potato production in East Africa during the next 10 to 30 years. A process-based crop models, SPOTCOMS (Sweet POTato COMputer Simulation) is used to assess four sweet potato cultivars; Naspot 1, Naspot 10, Naspot 11 and SPK 004-Ejumula. This is work in progress but preliminary results from the crop modeling experiments and the strength and weakness of the crop model will be presented.