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Monday, October 5, 2009

Climate change will lead to massive decline in crop yield – Study

The negative effects of climate change are especially pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia
The negative effects of climate change are especially pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia
A study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), indicates that climate change would hit developing countries the hardest, leading to massive decline in crop yields and production.

The study conducted by the American research think-tank for sustainable solutions to ending hunger and poverty said 25 million more children would be malnourished by 2050 due to the effects of climate change.

The negative effects of climate change are especially pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Compared to the average biophysical effects of climate change on yields in the industrialized world, the developing countries fare worse for almost all crops.

Mark Rosegrant, Director of IFPRI’s Environmental and Production Technology Division and Co-author of the report said agriculture is extremely vulnerable to climate change, because farming is weather-dependent.

He said small-scale farmers in developing countries would suffer the most.

Rosegrant said the study found out that the scenario of lower yields, higher prices for food and increased child malnutrition could be avoided.

“If governments and donors begin now to invest seriously in adaptation for poor farmers, we could avert this bleak future,” he stressed.

IFPRI recommended more open agricultural trade to ensure that food reaches the poorest populations in times of crises.

The study, the most comprehensive assessment of the impact of climate change on agriculture to date, compared the number of malnourished children in 2050 with and without climate change.

“This outcome could be averted with seven billion dollars per year of additional investments in agricultural productivity, to help farmers to adapt to the effects of climate change”, Rosegrant said.

Investments are needed in agricultural research, improved irrigation and rural roads to increase market access for poor farmers, says Gerald Nelson, IFPRI Senior Research Fellow and lead Author of the report.

He said access to safe drinking water and education for girls is also essential.

The study dubbed: “Climate Change: Impact on Agriculture and Costs of Adaptation,” which was prepared by IFPRI for inclusion in two separate reports from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, was released on September 30 in conjunction with international climate change meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

The study said without new technology and adjustments by farmers, climate change would reduce irrigated wheat yields in 2050 by around 30 per cent in developing countries compared to a no-climate change scenario. Irrigated rice yields would fall by 15 per cent.

Even without climate change, food prices would rise but climate change makes the problem worse. W

ithout climate change, wheat prices would increase globally by almost 40 per cent by 2050. With climate change, wheat prices would soar up to 194 per cent.

Rice is projected to increase 60 per cent without climate change but would go up by as much as 121 per cent with climate change.

In 2050, maize prices would be more than 60 per cent higher, without climate change, but would be up to 153 per cent higher with climate change.

The first of its kind, the study combines climate change models that changes in rainfall and temperature and a crop model to capture biophysical effects with IFPRI’s economic model of world agriculture.

The modelling failed to include; the effects of increased variability in weather due to climate change, the loss of agricultural lands due to rising sea levels, climate change-induced increases in pests and diseases and increased variability in river flow as glaciers melts.

Source: GNA

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