Agriculture will be one of the key human activities affected by climate change impacts. Projections show that while overall global food production in the coming decades may keep pace with the food requirements of a growing world population, climate change might worsen existing regional disparities because it will reduce crop yields mostly in lands located at lower latitudes where many developing countries are situated.
Strategies to enhance local adaptation capacity are needed, therefore, to minimize climatic impacts and to maintain regional stability of food production. At the same time, agriculture as a sector offers several opportunities to mitigate the portion of global greenhouse gas emissions that are directly linked to agricultural production systems.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), billions of people in the next decades, particularly those in developing countries, will face changes in rainfall patterns that will contribute to severe water shortages or flooding, and rising temperatures that will cause shifts in crop growing seasons. This will increase food shortages and distribution of disease vectors, putting populations at greater health and life risks.
The impact of a single climate-, water- or weather-related disaster can wipe out years of gains in economic development. Moreover, climate change will result in additional food insecurities, particularly for the resource poor in developing countries who cannot meet their food requirements through market access.
Communities are required, therefore, to protect themselves against the possibility of food-shortage emergencies through appropriate use of resources in order to preserve livelihoods as well as lives and property. It is imperative to identify and institutionalize mechanisms that enable the most vulnerable to cope with climate change impacts. This requires collaborative thinking and responses to the issues generated by the interaction of food security, climate change and sustainable agricultural development.
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