Thesis subject

Estimating the consequences of climate change on cereal self-sufficiency in sub-Saharan Africa


The population in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is increasing rapidly, and it is expected that the demand for cereals will triple in 2050 compared to 2015. To fulfill this food demand without further crop area expansion we estimated that current cereal yields should increase from around 20% to 80% of their (water-limited) potential yields (Yw). However, we did not include the effects of climate change when estimating the Yw.

We simulated the potential yields using crop growth models using historical weather data as input. We thereby assumed that Yw would be the same in 2050 as today. 

With climate change among others the atmospheric CO2 will increase, but also temperature will increase and more extreme weather events are expected. All aspects of climate change have implications for crop growth and thereby influence the future food self-sufficiency of countries.

The objective of this MSc thesis is to estimate (water-limited) potential yields in 2050 and taking into account climate change. This will be done for several cereals and countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The candidate will develop a protocol to account for climate change in yield gap analysis, run the crop growth model, analyze the output and assess the influence on food self-sufficiency.

Type of work

Crop modelling, data analysis and visualisation


Students with an interest in crop modeling and data analysis


Wageningen University


Marloes van Loon,

Martin van Ittersum,