Food Security

Climate Change Affects Food Security

In the wake of floods, wildfires, superstorms and droughts, we are reminded that climate change is affecting global Food Security. A recent article in The Jamaica Gleaner cites the 2008 article by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Climate Change and Food Security: A Framework Document which warns about the effects changing climate will have on the agriculture sector and the urgent need to make it a number one priority.

2018 hunger index
Besides providing the food we eat, agriculture is how a large percentage of the world’s population makes its living. 50% of populated Asian and Pacific countries and 2/3 of Africa’s sub-Sahara earn their daily bread from agriculture. Disruption to food security puts those livelihoods at risk.

Damage from severe weather events can also affect the food supply chains we have all come to rely on. When roads, rail lines and ports are damaged, transportation comes to a halt and that means so does the food supply chain.

Evidence indicates that more frequent and more intense extreme weather events (including droughts, heat and cold waves, heavy storms, and floods); rising sea levels; and increasing irregularities in seasonal rainfall patterns (including flooding) are already having immediate impacts on not only food production, but also food distribution infrastructure, incidence of food emergencies, livelihood assets and human health, in both rural and urban areas,” the FAO document reveals.

The FAO recommends that countries face climate change head on and respond to climate change “with urgency.” With rainfall changing in its duration, frequency and amount, current croplands may become unsuitable to produce adequate yields and may need to be adapted to other crops. New arable land will become scarce which can affect international migration and civil unrest. All countries need to respond in advance and adapt to climate change to help alleviate and avert political unrest.

The FAO urges general risk management; management of risk specific to ecosystems (marine, coastal water, forest, etc); and research and dissemination of crop varieties and breeds adapted to changing climatic conditions as key to protecting local supplies, assets and livelihoods against the effects of increasing weather variability and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

The article goes on to discuss how improvements in areas such as fisheries can be adopted. Read more:

Food Security affects everyone. We must act now in every nation and on every level to face climate change and the risks it creates for global food security.