These climate change trends are unlikely to occur in isolation from each other or other drivers of change.

The potential impacts of each of these climate change trends on the different post-harvest activities, assets (human, natural, physical, social and financial) and human well-being outcomes (food security, social, financial and economic) were identified. An example of this analysis for the potential impacts of a general increase in temperature on the drying, pest management and storage activity stages, and selected assets and well-being outcomes is given in the Table.

Post-harvest agricultural adaptation to climate change

Despite the significant uncertainty regarding the scale, type and interactions of climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation activities are needed if we are to avoid the most serious consequences of global warming. After establishing the potential impacts, we identified a range of climate-smart post-harvest agricultural adaptation opportunities (see Box).

Climate-smart post-harvest agricultural adaptation opportunities

• Growing and/or storing crops and varieties which are less susceptible to post-harvest pest attack;
• Prompt harvesting;
• Adequate and protected drying;
• Maintenance of the physical storage structures;
• Careful store cleaning and hygiene;
• Accurate estimation of food stock requirements;
• Protection and monitoring of grain to be stored for more than three months;
• Use of low GHG emission food preparation methods;
• Understanding and application of basic food safety principles;
• Increasing farmer access to market information and transport options;
• Use of early warning seasonal forecasts to project how the climatic conditions might impact on food storage or marketing strategies;
• Use of more water, energy and resource efficient processing, packaging and transport operations;
• Ensuring plant breeders evaluate post-harvest as well as pre-harvest crop characteristics; and
• Helping farmers to learn from others’ and their own experiments.


Smallholder farming households across SSA are well aware of the importance of good food storage, and perceive their ability to store food as a strength influencing their capacity to adapt to climate change and variability.