Climate change could sink up to 122 million more people into extreme poverty by 2030, mostly in South Asia and Africa, where small farmers will see their output plummet, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) warned today.
In an annual report, the FAO warned that a worst-case scenario of high-impact climate change would pound the communities that rely on agriculture for their livelihood, and food insecurity could spread to all regions.
It called for a “broad-based transformation of food and agricultural systems” to adapt to a warmer world, with an emphasis on supporting small shareholders.
“There is no doubt climate change affects food security,” FAO chief Jose Graziano da Silva said.
“What climate change does is to bring back uncertainties from the time we were all hunter gatherers. We cannot assure any more that we will have the harvest we have planted.”
Farming is both a driver of climate change, responsible for some 21 percent of global greenhouse gas production, and a victim, with crops adversely affected by drought and floods.
Adopting “climate-smart” practices, like planting nitrogen-efficient and heat-tolerant crops, or finding better ways to conserve water, would reduce undernourishment for many millions, the FAO said.
The report also called on signatories to the 2015 Paris climate deal to “put commitments into action”, underscoring the need to help developing countries with climate change mitigation.