Climate change affecting Global Food Production: Study

According to research conducted by scientists from Oxford University in United Kingdom (UK) and University of Copenhagen in Denmark, climate change is adversely affecting production of key crops such as wheat and rice, with some countries faring far worse than others. Their research was published in journal PLOS ONE.

Key Findings

  • Scientist used weather data and reported crop data to evaluate the potential impact of observed climate change.
  • Crop Yields: Climate change causes a significant yield variation in world’s top 10 crops. The study projects that yields of world’s top 10 crops (viz. rice, barley, wheat, maize, cassava, oil palm, rapeseed, soybean, sugarcane and sorghum) which supply combined 83% of all calories produced on cropland will decrease in future due to climate conditions.
  • The yield variation ranges from 13.4% decrease for oil palm to 3.5% increase for soybean, which will result in an average reduction of about 1% of consumable food calories from these top 10 crops.
  • Climate change impact on global food production will be variable such as mostly negative in Australia, Europe and Southern Africa, and generally positive in Latin America, and mixed result in Asia and Northern and Central America.
  • About 50% of all food-insecure countries and some affluent industrialised countries in Western Europe are experiencing decreases in crop.
  • Contrast result was found in some areas of the upper Midwest US where climate change has increased the yields of certain crops.
  • Significance: The report holds implications for major food companies, commodity traders and as well as for countries in which they operate and for citizens worldwide.

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