Africa Faces Huge Food-Supply Obstacles in a Just Transition – and Time Is Running Out

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A just transition must address the adaptation challenges of African countries while also moving food systems onto a sustainable footing with lower emissions. These changes all work through market mechanisms.

Climate change requires rapid, major and systemic economic changes at the local, national and global levels. Food supply is estimated to account for about a third of greenhouse gas emissions. African countries, however, are responsible for negligible emissions, yet face urgent challenges of adaptation to global warming and extreme weather events which threaten production.

A just transition must address the adaptation challenges of African countries while also moving food systems onto a sustainable footing with lower emissions. These changes all work through market mechanisms.

Emissions in food are mainly associated with meat and dairy production and the associated animal feed and land-use changes. Production and trading of meat and the main animal feed constituents such as soybeans and maize are concentrated, within and across countries. The changes required in the food systems transformation are thus about the decisions of a relatively small number of lead firms and the markets in which they operate.

Large incumbent firms have typically invested and innovated to build up their market positions. At the same…



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