Rain-fed agriculture is the most common pattern for Ethiopian smallholders, while it is sensitive to climate change in the future. In order to predict the impact of climate change and decrease the risk of food crisis in Ethiopia, the potential crops suitability of teff (Eragrostis tef), maize (Zea mays), wheat (Triticum aestivum Linn.) were simulated and suitable distribution were analyzed by using GIS-MCE (Multi-Criteria Evaluation) Planting Ecological Adaptability model under both current and future (2080s) climate conditions. The simulation showed that climate change will decrease the 14% potential suitable areas of teff from 41 to 27% and also reduce that of wheat from 33 to 29% in the future, while the potential suitable regions for maize will remain almost stable, or even slightly more (1%) in the future (46%) compared to the current conditions (45%). Overall, agriculture will suffer negative impacts on the main crops in Ethiopia. All these three crops’ potential suitable lands are gathering to higher altitude which is in the centre of the whole nation because of warmer temperature. Thus, maize may become more widely grown and compete for lands with teff and wheat in high and mid-altitude. In this study, our model results can help both the policymakers and the smallholders to amend the existing limitations, as well as to plan better long-term strategies under the future climate scenarios.
Key words: Climate change, Ethiopia, geographical information system, multi-criteria evaluation, potential suitability.
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