Effects of Climate Change on Cotton Production and Level of A ...

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Abstract

Cotton, grown in the northern part of Cameroon, remains one of the pillars of the Cameroonian economy, employing between 150,000 and 200,000 producers, with an additional 2 million people living indirectly from its production; it now accounts for 14.1 percent of Cameroon’s agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) exports, but its cultivation is known to be highly vulnerable to climate change. Despite its importance, few studies have examined the level of adaptation of cotton producers to the effects of climate change and assessed the level of compliance of Cameroon Cotton Development Company (SODECOTON) with the implementation and adoption of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices in cotton basins. Production and rainfall data were collected from SODECOTON, and temperature data were obtained from the Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) and the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA). Associations between rainfall, temperature, and cotton production are measured by linear regression and correlation tests. The autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model is used to forecast cotton production; assessment of levels of perception and adaptation to climate change was determined by field surveys of producers. Gaps between current agricultural practices and a checklist of CSA requirements were identified. Statistical tests showed a positive correlation between cotton production, rainfall, and temperature. The simulation of future production from 2022 to 2025 revealed that for rainfall, two out of four years predicted a decrease in production, compared with three out of four years for temperature compared with 2021. One hundred percent of producers surveyed perceive climate change through the irregularity of precipitation. Adaptation strategies developed by 100 percent of producers include crop rotation practices, crop diversification, use of improved seeds, and use of mineral fertilizers. The negative effects of climate change could be mitigated by adaptation measures based on compliance with CSA requirements.