Item Details

Title: The Impact of Climate Change on Crop Production in Uganda—An Integrated Systems Assessment with Water and Energy Implications

Date Published: August 2019
Author/s: Vignesh Sridharan, Eunice Pereira Ramos, Eduardo Zepeda, Brent Boehlert, Abhishek Shivakumar, Constantinos Taliotis and Mark Howells
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Affiliation: KTH-Royal Institute of Technology, Unit of Energy Systems Analysis, Brinellvägen 68, Stockholm 10044, Sweden
2 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Development Policy and Analysis
Division, 405 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017, USA
Industrial Economics Inc., 2067 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA
4 The Cyprus Institute, 20 Konstantinou Kavafi Street, Aglantzia, Nicosia 2121, Cyprus
Keywords: climate change; crop yield; irrigation; pumping electricity demand; Uganda; integrated analysis


With less than 3% of agricultural cropland under irrigation, subsistence farmers in Uganda
are dependent on seasonal precipitation for crop production. The majority of crops grown in the
country—especially staple food crops like Matooke (Plantains)—are sensitive to the availability of
water throughout their growing period and hence vulnerable to climatic impacts. In response to
these challenges, the Government has developed an ambitious irrigation master plan. However,
the energy implications of implementing the plan have not been explored in detail. This article
attempts to address three main issues involving the nexus between water, energy, crop production,
and climate. The first one explores the impact of climate on rain-fed crop production. The second
explores the irrigation crop water needs under selected climate scenarios. The third focuses on the
energy implications of implementing the irrigation master plan. We attempt to answer the above
questions using a water balance model for Uganda developed for this study. Our results, developed
at a catchment level, indicate that on average there could be an 11% reduction and 8% increase in
rain-fed crop production in the cumulatively driest and wettest climates, respectively. Furthermore,
in the identified driest climate, the electricity required for pumping water is expected to increase by
12% on average compared to the base scenario.