In tropical regions of the world human-induced climate change is likely to impact negatively on crop yields. To investigate the impact of climate change and its spillover effect on mean and variance of crop yields in northern Ghana, the Just and Pope stochastic production function and the Spatial Durbin model were adopted.
Surprisingly, the results suggest that both precipitation and average temperature have positive effects on mean crop yield during the wet season. Wet season average temperature has a significant spillover effect in the region, whereas precipitation during the wet season has only one significant spillover effect on maize yield. Wet season precipitation does not have a strong significant effect on crop yield despite the rainfed nature of agriculture in the region. Thus, even if there are losers and winners as a result of future climate change at the regional level, future crop yield would largely depend on future technological development in agriculture, which may improve yields over time despite the changing climate. We argue, therefore, that technical improvement in farm management such as improved seeds and fertilizers, conservation tillage and better pest control, may have a more significant role in increasing observed crop productivity levels over time. So investigating the relative importance of non-climatic factors on crop yield may shed more light on where appropriate interventions can help in improving crop yields. Climate change, also, needs to be urgently assessed at the level of the household, so that poor and vulnerable people dependent on agriculture can be appropriately targeted in research and development activities whose object is poverty alleviation.
Indeed, this study would help policy makers in generating field evidence relevant for supporting actionable plans to bring about the actualization of decisions reached in COP 21 sections 40(c), 40(d), 51, 81(b) and 81(g). JEL codes: C23, O55, Q54