Thursday, February 23, 2017

FAO says climate change main challenge to meeting food needs as world population grows

Climate change is expected to be one of the main obstacles to feeding the world population, which is probably to top 10 billion by mid-century, according to a report on Wednesday from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The Future of Food and Agriculture report notes that "millions of people depend on agriculture and are vulnerable to food insecurity" and that a changing climate would have an impact on "every aspect of food production."

The report said agriculture was one of the main contributors to the rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, second only to energy production, noting that emissions from agriculture had doubled in the last 50 years and now totaled around 10.6 giga-tons per year, roughly equivalent to the emissions from the United States and the European Union combined.

It said that more sustainable agricultural policies would help reduce agriculture's impact on climate change.

In the report, FAO also noted that the adoption of "sustainable land, water, fisheries and forestry management practices" would help bridge the gap between current food production and that needed to feed a worldwide population in 2050.

The rest of the gap, the report said, could be made up by "agronomic adaptation," referring to the use of more appropriate plant species or more efficient irrigation methods, which can improve agricultural yields by up to 18 percent.

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