Summary: This paper examines whether the choice of crops is affected by climate in Africa. Using a multinomial logit model, the paper regresses crop choice on climate, soils, and other factors. The model is estimated using a sample of more than 7,000 farmers across 11 countries in Africa. The study finds that crop choice is very climate sensitive. For example, farmers select sorghum and maize-millet in the cooler regions of Africa; maize-beans, maize-groundnut, and maize in moderately warm regions' and cowpea, cowpea-sorghum, and millet-groundnut in hot regions. Further, farmers choose sorghum, and millet-groundnut when conditions are dry; cowpea, cowpea-sorghum, maize-millet, and maize when medium wet; and maize-beans and maize-groundnut when wet. As temperatures warm, farmers will shift toward more heat tolerant crops. Depending on whether precipitation increases or decreases, farmers will also shift toward drought tolerant or water loving crops, respectively. There are several policy relevant conclusions to draw from this study. First, farmers will adapt to climate change by switching crops. Second, global warming impact studies cannot assume crop choice is exogenous. Third, this study only examines choices across current crops. Future farmers may well have more choices. There is an important role for agronomic research in developing new varieties more suited for higher temperatures. Future farmers may have even better adaptation alternatives with an expanded set of crop choices specifically targeted at higher temperatures.
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