Climate change in tropics poses food threat to poor
feed the world’s poor, a report says
people in the global tropics, say researchers working with the world’s leading
zone but many areas previously considered to be relatively food secure are likely
to become highly vulnerable to droughts, extreme weather and higher temperatures,
say the researchers with the
their prime growing seasons fall below 120 days, which is critical for crops such
as maize to mature. Many other places in Latin America are likely to experience
temperatures that are too hot for bean production, a staple in the region, says
people in south Asia are particularly prone to even a 5% decrease in the length
of the growing season, say the authors.
and food access for people already living on the edge,” says the report
“Today there are 56 million food-insecure and crop-dependent people in parts of
west Africa, India and China who live in areas where, in 40 years time, maximum
daily temperatures could exceed 30C. This is close to the maximum temperature
that beans can tolerate, while maize and rice yields suffer when temperatures
exceed this level. Even with optimal amounts of rain, African maize can decline
by 1% for every day spent above 30C,” says the report.
on agriculture could intensify hunger and poverty,” said Patti Kristjanson, research
leader at the the Cgiar research programme on
What this study suggests is that the speed of climate shifts and the magnitude
of the changes required to adapt could be much greater. In some places, farmers
might need to consider entirely new crops or new
than they would have been without the temperature rises associated with climate
change since the 1980s, according to the statistical analysis.
so overall the warming has not changed their net global production.
by David Lobell of Stanford University, United States, have shown that these losses
have probably led to at least a six per cent rise in food prices between 1980
for the planet — to 10.1 billion by 2100. http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/index.htm
and wheat, the sizeable yield setback from climate change is likely incurring
large economic and health costs,” said the team, whose work was published in Science
yesterday (5 May).
around the world. Both models included complex factors such as the increases in
yield from technological advances in farming, but one included the actual increase
in global temperatures between 1980–2008, while the other kept the temperature
constant at 1980 levels.
Brazil and seven per cent in China, but an increase of about one per cent in India.
In Africa, there were significant yield drops in Egypt, Mozambique and Uganda,
but substantial increases, linked to temperature drops, in Kenya, Tunisia and
Brazil, Iraq, Libya and Morocco.
a drop of five per cent, and Paraguay 7.5 per cent, while Argentina showed a 2.5
per cent increase.
in the atmosphere — thought to increase yields for rice and soy but have no effect
on maize and wheat.
increases for major commodities,” Lobell told SciDev.Net. “Most people would say
biofuel and trade policies are probably more important for food price rises. But
what we are saying is that climate change is also a factor.”
Institute in the United States said the results demonstrated that “the way climate
plays out in individual locations in the future is going to be very important
for global effects”.
climate change — and building better infrastructure so that farmers can benefit
from higher prices for their crops, he said.