It’s not easy finding a silver lining in the burgeoning effects of global warming on agriculture, but a new scientific report claims that it might not be all gloom and doom.
Multiple news sources have cited a report this week in the scientific journal Tropical Plant Biology concluding that the cassava plant is an ideal crop for higher temperatures and less water. While production of other staples, such as potatoes, beans and maize, is projected to decline, cassava is expected to not only survive but thrive. The study claims that in some areas of Western Africa the crop could increase yields by 15 percent over today's, even in the warmer climate of 2030.
Andy Jarvis, the report’s lead author, summed up the findings, "Cassava is a survivor; it's like the Rambo of the food crops. It deals with almost anything the climate throws at it. It thrives in high temperatures, and if drought hits it simply shuts down until the rains come again. There's no other staple out there with this level of toughness."
This is welcome news to roughly the 500 million people who consume cassava every day, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa where high rates of malnutrition and food insecurity have historically plagued the region.