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Rain-fed agriculture will remain vital for food security in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Nearly 90% of the staple food production will continue to come from rain-fed smallholder farming systems. However, it is here that some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable rural communities live. Moreover, rain-fed agriculture has stagnated.

Added to the constraints imposed by poor supportive policies, extreme poverty and often a degrading resource base is the inherent climate-induced production risk associated with the current season-to-season variability of rainfall. 

This situation is likely to be worsened by global warming and its predicted impacts on seasonal rainfall amounts and distribution patterns, increasing the climate-induced problems faced by rain-fed farmers who already today struggle to cope effectively with current rainfall variability.

In the medium to longer term, and as climate change begins to have noticeable impacts, farmers will have to progressively adapt their farming practices to a new set of climate-induced risks and opportunities. The CALESA project addresses in particular adaptation to progressive climate change with special emphasis on predicted increases in temperature to enable farmers to adapt their farming practice to these new climate risks as they evolve.