The Climate African Farmers Counted On Is Gone

12/15/2015
World Policy Blog

In West Africa, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita presides over a state under siege by terrorists. But he also faces a threat to his people that makes fewer international headlines: climate change. 

It’s a parallel he drew when he addressed global heads of state gathered at the recently-concluded Paris Climate Conference. Keita spoke of the deaths of lakes and rivers due to inadequate rainfall. Referring to Africa’s third-largest river and the main source of water for people, livestock, and crops in Mali, Keita asked, “Will we be able to irrigate our crops from the Niger River?” 

It’s a chilling question. Without water there is no food, and African agriculture relies almost entirely on rain.

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