Analyses of Climate Variability and Trends in the Oil Palm Belt of Ghana

Victor Tetteh Zutah

Benso Oil Palm Plantation Plc, Ghana and Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Joseph Sarkodie-Addo

Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Henry Oppong Tuffour

Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Paul Kweku Tandoh *

Department of Horticulture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract

The current production of oil palm in Africa has been severely limited by long periods of drought and perennial floods due to the increased rates of climate change. The study was aimed at assessing the climatic variability trends in 7 major Oil Palm growing areas (Benso, Mpohor, Bogoso, Twifo Praso, Kade, Juabeng and Brewaniese) located in the oil palm belt in Ghana spanning the semideciduous and the wet evergreen rainforest zones of Ghana using 30 years of historical weather data (1993-2022). The data was analysed to evaluate the extent of seasonal changes in weather over the 30-year period using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 20.0 version), using descriptive statistics and time series analysis. Trend analysis was conducted using the non-parametric Mann-Kendall (MK) and Sen’s slope estimator tests. A seasonal trend in rainfall was observed at all sites with maximum levels observed between May and July as well as a minor rainy season in September to Mid-November. The Mann-Kendall trend analysis showed a generally increasing trend at most stations in rainfall, temperature and solar radiation. A generally increasing trend in annual rainfall was observed from 1993-2022 with significant trends at Mpohor and Juabeng. The trend was higher in the moist evergreen rainforest zone than in the semi-deciduous rainforest zone. An average increase of 6.7 mm/yr in rainfall trend was observed for the period.  An increasing trend in monthly maximum, minimum and mean temperatures were also observed. Significant increases in mean temperatures were observed at Bogoso (0.022°C/yr), Benso (0.018°C/yr), Juabeng (0.011°C/yr) and Mpohor (0.017°C/yr). The trend in mean annual solar radiation was generally not significant except in Benso where the mean solar radiation increased at the rate of 0.044 MJ/day. Higher drought levels in the first half year combined with very heavy rains later in the year are features of the ongoing climate change menace.

Keywords: Oil palm, climate, drought, solar radiation, temperature


How to Cite

Zutah, V. T., Sarkodie-Addo , J., Tuffour, H. O., & Tandoh , P. K. (2024). Analyses of Climate Variability and Trends in the Oil Palm Belt of Ghana. Journal of Experimental Agriculture International, 46(2), 86–98. https://doi.org/10.9734/jeai/2024/v46i22311

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