Impact of Climate Variability on Soil Moisture Availability in North Eastern Ghana: Implications for Agricultural Extension and Rural Development

Obeng, F. K.
February 2014
International Journal of AgriScience;Feb2014, Vol. 4 Issue 2, p109
Academic Journal
Climate is a natural phenomenon that has shaped the lives of men and the environment in which they live. Changes in climate occur through natural variability and also through the activities of man. Though climate change affects agriculture, its impact is noticeable only in the long-term. The impact of climate variability on agriculture is more manifest in the short-term. The persistence in the state of variability of the elements of climate, in this context rainfall and temperature, over an extended period of time (decades or longer) constitutes climate change. Predictions by the RIVM about climate scenarios in central and western drylands of West Africa show decrease in rainfall (100-400mm p.a) and increase in temperature (1.5-2.5°C) by 2050. This paper looks at the impact of climate variability on soil moisture availability in North-Eastern Ghana: Implications for Agriculture. Analyses of data indicate greater variability in rainfall and temperature. This has led to decreasing rainfall, increasing temperatures, frequent drought, high evaporation and transpiration rates and reduction in soil moisture. The results of these are reduced crop yields, shortening of the cropping season, drying of water bodies, difficulty in getting animal feed and a general increase in the risks and uncertainties associated with agriculture. Suggested solutions include the construction of small scale irrigation schemes for water storage, the use of more efficient water dispensing technologies like the drip irrigation systems and resorting to the use of indigenous water harvesting techniques. Also improvement in the water holding capacity of the soil through the incorporation of organic matter into the soil and the breeding of drought resistant crop varieties that are capable of adapting to the changing environmental conditions of the area.


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