Climate change hits agricultural production

14 Aug 2014 12:10pm
WINDHOEK, 14 AUG (NAMPA) - Namibia is classified as the seventh-most at-risk country globally in terms of agricultural production losses due to climate change.
Environment and Tourism Minister Uahekua Herunga announced this during a high-level climate finance awareness-raising event here on Wednesday.
He said in Namibia, climate risks are quite high, mostly for the agricultural sector, which consequently affects food security.
“These risks can be devastating, particularly for rural households and small-scale farmers who depend on subsistence farming,” he noted.
Several studies have revealed that agricultural dry-land crop productivity may be reduced by up to 50 per cent in Namibia’s north-central areas, and by about 20 per cent in the north-eastern regions due to climate change.
The studies further indicated a possible decrease in Namibian fishing production of between 30 and 50 per cent, Herunga said.
The tourism sector will also not be spared from the impact of climate change.
Tourism in Namibia is a major industry, contributing about N.dollars 7.2 billion to the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
Annually, nearly one-million travellers visit Namibia, according to statistics from the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB).
Herunga thus warned that a significant decrease in tourism GDP can be expected.
Furthermore, climate change can also affect the provision of hydro-electrical power because the shortage of water could lead to a fall in hydro-power- generation.
Overall, it is estimated that Namibia’s whole economy will see annual losses of about six per cent in GDP due to the impact of climate change on the country’s natural resources’ sector alone.
Speaking about the financial implications of climate change, Herunga emphasised that efforts to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change are being curtailed by the lack of financial resources.
Diverting from business-as-usual to mitigate and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change is costlier and overburdens economies, while hampering Namibia from achieving her developmental goals, the minister stated.
“Climate change is thus capable of harming our economy, thereby reducing our GDP and affecting government revenue, which may limit governmental efforts to deal with national development issues.
It is for this reason that Namibia and Africa have prioritised adaptation as an approach to address climate change impacts,” he continued.