Climate change poses threat

Himalayan News Service

New Delhi, May 29:

Climate change threatens to sharply increase crop losses in many developing countries like India, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

It said in a report unveiled in New York today that 65 developing countries, home to more than half the developing world’s population, could lose around 280 million tonnes of potential cereal production valued at $56 billion as a result of the climatic change. This loss would be equivalent to 16 per cent of the agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) of these countries, FAO said in a statement.

“Among these countries, India could lose 125 million tonnes (18 per cent) of its rain-fed cereal production, while China’s rain-fed cereal production of 350 million tonnes are expected to rise by 15 per cent. Climate change not only has an impact on food security, but is also likely to influence the development and intensification of animal diseases and plant pests,” said Wulf Killmann, who chairs FAO’s Interdepartmental Working Group on Climate Change.

“Temperature changes, as well as increased air pollution, can intensify human disease patterns, as does the spread of trans-boundary animal diseases caused by pathogens that are potentially dangerous to humans,” the report said, pointing to the avian flu as the most recent example.

The study has used Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZ) methodology, a worldwide spatial soil and climate suitability database for use in quantifying regional impacts and geographical shifts in agricultural land and productivity potentials. The northern industrialised countries could increase their crop production.