By Frédéric Baudron/CIMMYT
Researchers with CIMMYT’s Global Conservation Agriculture Program (GCAP) in Ethiopia have found that use of agroforestry systems involving an indigenous tree could mitigate climate change effects in Ethiopian smallholder wheat systems. Specifically, their study showed that maximum temperatures under the canopy of Faidherbia albida, a nitrogen-fixing, acacia-like species found throughout African savannas, were constantly 4 to 5°C lower than temperatures outside the canopy.
By 2050, the maximum daily temperature in wheat-growing areas of Ethiopia is predicted to rise by 2 to 3°C. This could significantly reduce yields of wheat, a crop that accounts for 18 percent of Ethiopia’s cereal area and nearly a fifth of its cereal production. The crop is key to the food security and incomes of smallholder farmers who grow it. CIMMYT researchers are studying the effect of scattered trees that are currently common in farmers’ field.