Mapping the vulnerability of crop production to drought in Ghana using rainfall, yield and socioeconomic data

Produced as part of the Adaptation to climate change and human development CCCEP research programme theme

Abstract of Working Paper 55

This study evaluates new multi-scale, multi-indicator methods for assessing the vulnerability of crop production to drought at a national and regional scale by identifying differences across and within ten regions of Ghana, a country that faces many climate and crop production challenges typical of sub-Saharan Africa.

The paper highlights key methodological steps required to improve drought sensitivity and vulnerability assessments for dynamic dryland farming systems typified by multiple drivers of change and thresholds of risk that are dynamic in space and time.

The paper outlines how a quantitative national and regional study is a critical first step in assessing differences in the drought sensitivity of food production systems. The paper shows how this enables the formulation of more targeted district and community level research that can explore the drivers of vulnerability and change on a local-scale.

The results of national and regional scale analyses show that vulnerability to drought has both discernible geographical patterns and socioeconomic associations, with the Northern, Upper West and Upper East regions being most vulnerable. These regions also have the lowest adaptive capacity due to low socioeconomic development and have economies based largely on rain-fed agriculture. Within regions are found considerable differences between districts that can be explained only partly by socioeconomic variables with further community and household-scale research required to explain the causes of differences in vulnerability status.

The results here highlight that national and regional scale multi-indicator vulnerability assessments are a vital (and often ignored) first step in assessing vulnerability across a large area. These inputs can guide both local-level research and also demonstrate the need for region-specific policies to reduce vulnerability and to enhance drought preparedness within dryland farming communities.