Climate Change Adaptation in Africa: A Microeconomic Analysis of Livestock Choice

  • This paper uses quantitative methods to examine the way African farmers have adapted livestock management to the range of climates found across the African continent. We use logit analysis to estimate whether farmers adopt livestock. We then use three econometric models to examine which species farmers choose: a primary choice multinomial logit, an optimal portfolio multinomial logit, and a demand system multivariate probit. The primary animal model examines the choice of the single species that earns the greatest net revenue on the farm. The optimal portfolio model examines all possible combinations of animals that farmers can choose. The demand system model examines the probability that a farmer will choose a particular species. Using data from over 9000 African livestock farmers in ten countries, the analysis finds that farmers are more likely to choose to have livestock as temperatures increase and as precipitation decreases. Under cooler temperatures and wetter conditions, in contrast, they favor crops. Across all methods of estimating choice, livestock farmers in warmer locations are less likely to choose beef cattle and chickens and more likely to choose goats and sheep. As precipitation increases/decreases, cattle and sheep decrease/increase but goats and chickens increase/ decrease. Places with more rain in Africa are more likely to be forest than savanna. The savanna favors cattle and sheep whereas the forest favors goats and chickens. We then simulate the way farmers’ choices might change with a set of uniform climate changes and a set of climate model (AOGCM) scenarios. The uniform scenarios predict that warming and drying would increase livestock ownership but that increases in precipitation would decrease it. Warming would encourage livestock farmers to shift from beef cattle and chicken to goats and sheep. Increases/decreases in precipitation would cause livestock owners to decrease/increase dairy cattle and sheep but increase/decrease goats and chickens. The AOGCM (Atmospheric Oceanic General Circulation Model) climate scenarios predict a decrease in the probability of beef cattle and an increase in the probability of sheep and goats, and they predict that more heat- tolerant animals will dominate the future African landscape. Comparing the results of the three methods of estimating species selection reveals that the ‘primary animal’, ‘optimal portfolio’, and ‘demand system’ approaches yield similar results. The demand system and optimal portfolio analyses appear slightly more responsive because they measure the presence of a particular species, rather than whether it is the primary animal. The optimal portfolio approach also differs from the other two methods in predicting warming will have a harmful effect on dairy cattle and goats and a larger beneficial effect on sheep.

  • Seo, Sungno Niggol; Mendelsohn, Robert

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  • 2007-00-00

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  • Central Africa; East Africa; Northern Africa; Southern Africa; West Africa