African governments and stakeholders have been urged to step up the mitigation and adaptation mission in response to the climate crisis in the continent.

Assistant Director of Climate Services at the Kenya Meteorological Department, Dr Richard Muita says mitigation and adaptation are the best bet to manage the impact of drought periods.

Dr Muita also advocates for water storage systems like reservoirs for farmers to harvest water to maximise production when the rains fail to come.

“If they are pastoralists, there could be issues of even storage of pasture when there is plenty, and they can use it during those dry periods,” he said.

A new international climate assessment report published by the Inter-governmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) on August 9, indicates that the water cycle is intensifying and will continue to intensify as the planet warms.

The latest report has projected an increase in average temperatures and heat extremes on the African continent.

According to the report, the continent is likely to experience drier conditions, except for the Sahara and Eastern Africa.

The Sahara covers large parts of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and Tunisia. It covers 9 million square kilometres (3,500,000 sq mi), amounting to 31% of Africa.

The rate of temperature increase throughout the continent will exceed the global average. As a result, projected drought and heat conditions will have negative impacts on rain-fed agriculture.

Dr Muita believes the situation can be salvaged if pragmatic measures are being put in place.

“There are also other impacts of drought too.”

He cites bushfire outbreaks and displacement of species as impacts of drought among others.

“Bees colony, for example, which play a critical role in pollination. So if there are droughts, they are likely to move elsewhere.”

Planting trees, according to Dr Muita, could also be one of the long-term measures to mitigate the impact of climate change.

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