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Vicious Cycle of Climate Change and Food Insecurity in Tanzania

Vicious Cycle of Climate Change and Food Insecurity in Tanzania

Surging tides from the Indian Ocean, linked in part to climate change, have pushed salt water into Tanzania’s Rufiji Delta, home to the world’s largest mangrove forest and where “more than 90% of households…make their living from rice farming” according to a report from Altertnet by Kizito Makoye. Due to the destruction of rice crops by the intrusion of salt water, farmers have moved in search of fresh water and better land. However, better land is increasingly difficult to find because changing weather patterns have decreased the amount of arable land in the delta.

As a result, many farmers have started cutting down trees and cultivating rice in government-protected mangrove forests.  This has led to conflicts with government officials who fear that the destruction of these forests will undermine biodiversity as well as increase carbon dioxide emissions, worsening the effects of climate change. According to the chief executive of the Rufiji Basin Development Authority, Aloyce Masanja, the situation will worsen as program officials “have done many studies, and they have proved that this problem will certainly spread, threatening [the Rufiji Delta’s] food security.”

Posted by: Yekaterina Fomitcheva

Image credit: ALERTNET/Kizito Makoye