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.
Important collections of crop diversity face urgent and chronic funding shortages. These shortages can lead to loss of diversity, the very building blocks on which adaptive...
Global Crop Biodiversity TrustLast Updated on 2011-02-25 00:00:00
Important collections of crop diversity face urgent and chronic funding shortages. These shortages can lead to loss of diversity, the very building blocks on which adaptive and productive agriculture depends. The sole global response to this threat is the Global Crop Diversity Trust.
The Trust is a unique public-private partnership raising funds from individual, corporate and government donors to establish an endowment fund that will provide complete and continuous funding for key crop collections, in eternity.
In line with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources and the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, our goal is to advance an efficient and sustainable global system of ex situ conservation by promoting the rescue, understanding, use and long-term conservation of... More »
Challenges Linking Food, Energy, and the EnvironmentLast Updated on 2011-01-16 00:00:00
As the second decade of the 21st century begins, the challenge of how to feed a growing world population and provide sustainable, affordable energy to fulfill daily needs, while also improving human health and protecting the environment, is clear and urgent. Increasing demand for food and energy is projected at the same time as the supply of land and other resources decrease. Increasing levels of greenhouse gasses alter climate, which, in turn, has life-changing implications for a broad range of plant and animal species.
But promising developments are on the horizon--scientific discoveries and technologies that have the potential to contribute practical solutions to these seemingly intractable problems. As described in the 2009 National Research Council book, A New Biology for the 21st Century, biological research has experienced extraordinary scientific and... More »
Priced Out of NutritionLast Updated on 2011-01-10 00:00:00
Nutritional Security is in the Balance
On SciDev.Net (20 January 2010), Suresh Babu notes that worldwide many are priced out of nutrition (that is, poor populations cope with higher food prices by shifting to less:
Developing countries urgently need nutritional interventions to safeguard vulnerable people during economic crises.
Food insecurity receives much attention from researchers and donors. But the lack of nutrition security — access to balanced nourishment — is much less visible and equally devastating to the health and economic development of poor populations.
The effects of malnourishment are stark. A lack of protein exponentially increases children's risk of death, while vitamin A and iron deficiencies are also associated with higher infant and child mortality. Early life and childhood malnutrition leads to stunting and anaemia, which not... More »
Nutrition and AgricultureLast Updated on 2010-12-29 03:04:46Nutrition Should be a Priority for Agriculture
Lawrence Haddad* writes on SciDev.Net on 23 December 2010 about the priority agriculture has toward nutrition.
Development economist argues that improving nutrition can,
and should, be a central goal of agriculture.
Agriculture could, and should, speed up improvements in nutrition. Although we know the links between farming and diet, we don't use them to their full potential. And, even if we start, we will still need new pathways to reduce malnutrition.
People's nutritional status depends on several factors as well as food and income — healthcare, for example, or the position that women hold in society. And sectors other than agriculture, such as social protection, deliver food too. So nutrition does not depend only, or even chiefly, on agriculture.
But nutrition should be driven primarily by agriculture... More »
The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in AfricaLast Updated on 2010-12-02 00:00:00The New Harvest:
Agricultural Innovation in Africa
Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has authored a volume highlighting that:
African agriculture is currently at a crossroads, at which persistent food shortages are compounded by threats from climate change. But, as this book argues, Africa faces three major opportunities that can transform its agriculture into a force for economic growth: advances in science and technology; the creation of regional markets; and the emergence of a new crop of entrepreneurial leaders dedicated to the continent's economic improvement.
The book contends that:
Africa can feed itself. And it can make the transition from hungry importer to self-sufficiency in a single... More »
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