Farmers must prepare for climate change: UN

UN climate experts on Friday called for new farming and land management methods to help sustain the world's food resources in the face of global warming.

Farmers must prepare for climate change: UN

UN climate experts on Friday called for new farming and land management methods to help sustain the world's food resources in the face of global warming.

Climate change and desertification were "inextricably linked" and impacted on the planet's ability to feed itself, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.

The global population was set to grow by almost a third by 2020 to 8.2 billion from 6.3 billion now, but the amount and quality of farmland was under threat from warmer temperatures and variations in rainfall that would affect soil properties, reduce crop yields and could lead to greater desertification.

"When you consider that only 11 per cent of land in this world is arable then a lot of food we produce today has to come from this prime land. But if you have degradation of this prime land due to climate variability and climate change then you have a major problem," said Dr Mannava Sivakumar of WMO's Agricultural Division.

"Can we deal with that climate variability to feed the 8.2 billion people that are going to be here in just under 13 years?" he added.

During 2007 alone, extreme weather events, linked to climate change, had already hit farming in many parts of the world. Between 40 and 60 per cent of maize production had been destroyed by drought in southern Africa including Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho. Droughts and heatwaves in south-eastern Europe this summer were also expected to harm crop production.

The latest forecasts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted further extreme weather in the coming decades risking increased land degradation.

The WMO would be highlighting the links between climate change and desertification at the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, UNCCD, being held in Madrid from Monday.

DPA

Last Mod: 31 Ağustos 2007, 18:44
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