Global Change: Impacts on Water and food Security

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But significant adverse impacts are expected earlier from more frequent and prolonged heatwaves, droughts and floods. Many crops now grown in southern Europe, such as olives, may not survive high temperature increases. Southern Europe will have to change the way it irrigates crops. In Europe's high and middle latitudes, global warming is expected to greatly expand the growing season. Crops in Russia may be able to expand northwards but yields will be much lower because the soils are less fertile.

In the south, the climate is likely to become much drier which will reduce yields. In addition, climate change is expected to make water resources scarcer and encourage weeds and pests. In , Russia banned wheat and grain exports after a heatwave.

Climate change: how a warming world is a threat to our food supplies

This will affect soil erosion and increase the probability of floods. The US is expected to grow by million people by Government scientists expect more incidents of extreme heat, severe drought, and heavy rains to affect food production. The warming is expected to continue without undue problems for 30 years but beyond the effects could be dramatic with staple crops hit.

According to the latest government report: "The rising incidence of weather extremes will have increasingly negative impacts on crop and livestock productivity, because critical thresholds are already being exceeded. Fruit and nut crops which depend on "winter chilling" days may have to relocate. Animals exposed to many hot nights are increasingly stressed. Many vegetable crops will be hit when temperatures rise only a few degrees above normal.

In , Because few crops can withstand average temperature rises of more than 2C, Latin America expects to be seriously affected by a warming climate and more extreme weather.

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Even moderate C rises would cause significant damage to Brazil, one of the world's biggest suppliers of food crops. Brazilian production of rice, beans, manioc, maize and soya are all expected to decline, with coffee especially vulnerable. Many African countries are already experiencing longer and deeper droughts, floods and cyclones. The continent is expected to suffer disproportionately from food insecurity, due to fast-growing vulnerable populations.

Morocco expects crops to remain stable up to about , but then to drop quickly later. Most north African countries traditionally import wheat and are therefore highly vulnerable to price shocks and droughts elsewhere. A new study of 11 west African countries expects most to be able to grow more food as temperatures rise and rainfall increases.

But demand from growing populations may double food prices. To mitigate these risks, there is therefore a need for an integrated policy approach to protect the arable land against global warming. In addition, rural small-scale farmers need to be given more support to improve their agricultural production, particularly at household level.


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From Figure 1 , it can be denoted that since , Carbon dioxide CO 2 emissions have been considerably low and the amount of arable land was high. However, since , CO 2 emissions have been volatile and have increased, and the amount of arable land has decreased significantly. This decrease is caused by an increase in global warming World Bank Drought severity has increased with global warming, degrading available arable land. Many households in rural areas are dependent largely on subsistence farming for survival, and with a decrease in arable land, these households will face a lack of food security.

Global warming will have significant negative effects on food security, with estimates of an additional amount of between 5 and million people at risk of hunger by the year Statistical Review on World Energy To mitigate the impact of CO 2 emissions on food security, Barrett suggests that there should an implementation of a policy targeting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as maintenance and recovery of soil in areas affected by climate change. This would assist subsistence farmers which are in need of increased food production to be a more appropriate solution.

Figure 2 illustrates trends of crop production and population growth. Figure 2 illustrates that crop production per hectare has historically been volatile, while population growth rate has been relatively constant over the past 20 years.

SOFA 2016 - Climate change, agriculture and food security

From Figure 1 , it can be denoted that over the last two decades, the population has, on an average, been growing at a rate higher than that of crop production. The production of crops comprises maize, rice, wheat and soybean. The challenge of food security is exacerbated by an increase in population which is greater than the rate of food production, resulting in an increase in the number of households to feed.

In essence, the demand for food exceeds the supply of food, thus leading to food shortage.

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This is confirmed by the World Bank , reporting that global population continues to rise; however, the growth rate between food production and population growth is not equal. The crop production yield per hectare is, on average, increasing at a rate below that of global population. Table 1 shows that over the past two decades, the population has on average been growing at a rate higher than that of crop yields. From to , the average growth of crop production is 1. This raises a concern as it implies that food security is seriously challenged, as the population growth is greater than the crop production.

This implies that food production will not be able to meet global demand for food, leaving millions of people having reduced food security. Lobell et al. If yield per hectare increases at a rate slower than that of population, then food shortages experienced throughout the world will only get worse, aided by global warming. The effects of global warming on crops depend greatly on region and type of crop. However, it seems that poorer countries, more prone to be affected by global warming, need to adjust their crops to a greater extent than their more developed counterparts Lobell et al.

To address some of the aforementioned challenges, the Department of Environmental Affairs reported that farmers have adopted various strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change on their farming, which include:. The South African government committed itself to half poverty levels between and In his State of the Nation Address , the president of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, noted that food security was re-prioritised as one of the top priorities for the government.

This is because climate change and its impact on food in security is increasingly recognised as a major concern in different parts of the world, including South Africa. One of the main components in meeting that goal is household food security. Compared to other African countries, South Africa is largely considered as a food secure nation, producing sufficient staple foods and having the capacity to import food in order to meet the basic nutritional requirements of its population FAO Hart and Aliber similarly argue that South Africa seems to be food secured at the national level, but the same cannot be said at household level, particularly in rural areas, where majority of the people largely depend on agriculture.

Landman , however, found that food security is a serious challenge that still persists in South Africa. In addition, embedded in Section 26 and 27 1 b of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of is the right to access sufficient food and water. The national food security indicators reported that South Africa has been able to meet the food needs of its growing population over the years, there are however no clear statistics to ascertain food security at household level Statistics South Africa Hendriks found that in South Africa, a large proportion of households in rural areas are vulnerable to incidences of food insecurity.

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Knueppel et al. More worryingly, Earl noted that hunger and malnutrition are still prevalent in South Africa and this is as a result of inequalities in accessing productive land. According to the authors, an individual is classified to be food insecure if he or she receives less than Kilocalories per day, which is equivalent to R per person per month.

In Johannesburg, Rudolph revealed that there is a strong relationship between employment, income and food insecurity. His study concluded that members of households with full time jobs were more likely to be food secured than those with part-time jobs. According to Bonti-Ankomah , the main challenge of food security in South Africa is access to food.


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This is because food access is determined by demand and purchasing power. Another problem exacerbating food insecurity in South Africa is high unemployment, which limits many households in purchasing food. Figure 3 demonstrates trends of food adequacy at household and provincial level, respectively. According to the FAO report, high levels of unemployment and inadequate social welfare are the major contributors to food insecurity in South Africa. The South African government uses various methods to assess food security. However, due to the complexity of measuring food security, these methods yield different results.

The FAO reports that black South Africans constitute the majority of poor and food insecure households, which are largely found in rural areas. Factors such as lack of access to finance, communication infrastructure, education and skill development facilities prevent households from engaging in agricultural farming. In , the World Bank estimated that More floods and severe droughts are predicted. Welcome to the United Nations.

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