One climate-smart-agriculture measure: to reduce the methane emissions in rice farming.
Photo: J. Boethling

24.08.2012

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Food insecurity and climate change have finally brought agriculture back into the spotlight of international development debate. For all to have enough food, productivity on existing farmlands must rise, purchasing power of those in need must increase, and agriculture must be environmentally sustainable. A climatesmart agriculture with a focus on improved productivity, enhanced resilience and reduced greenhouse gas emissions is urgently required.

Ensuring food security under a changing climate is one of the major challenges of the 21st Century. In 2010, there were about 925 million food insecure people in the world – about 16 per cent of population in developing countries. Global population is projected to rise from seven billion currently to over nine billion by 2050, creating demand for a more diverse diet requiring additional resources to produce. Competition for land, water and energy will intensify in an attempt to meet the need for food, fuel and fibre, while globalisation may further expose the food system to the vagaries of economic and political forces. Estimates indicate that global food production must increase by 70 – 100 per cent by 2050 to meet human demand.

Agriculture is also highly vulnerable to climate change, and more than any other major economic sector, it will need to adapt to the changing climate. Under optimistic lower-end projections of global warming, climate change may reduce crop yields by between 10 and 20 per cent.

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