Journal article

Climate change as a driver of food insecurity in the 2007 Lesotho-South Africa drought

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Publication Details

Author list: Verschuur J, Li S, Wolski P, Otto FEL

Publisher: Nature Research (part of Springer Nature): Fully open access journals / Nature Publishing Group

Publication year: 2021

Journal: Scientific Reports

Volume number: 11

Start page: 3852

Total number of pages: 9

ISSN: 2045-2322

eISSN: 2045-2322



Climate-induced food production shocks, like droughts, can cause food shortages and price spikes, leading to food insecurity. In 2007, a synchronous crop failure in Lesotho and South Africa—Lesotho’s sole trading partner—led to a period of severe food insecurity in Lesotho. Here, we use extreme event attribution to assess the role of climate change in exacerbating this drought, going on to evaluate sensitivity of synchronous crop failures to climate change and its implications for food security in Lesotho. Climate change was found to be a critical driver that led to the 2007 crisis in Lesotho, aggravating an ongoing decline in food production in the country. We show how a fragile agricultural system in combination with a large trade-dependency on a climatically connected trading partner can lead to a nonlinear response to climate change, which is essential information for building a climate-resilient food-supply system now and in the future.


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Last updated on 2021-31-03 at 09:41