The state of food and agriculture: Climate change, agriculture and food security
This annual publication (PDF) from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) elaborates on the relations between climate change, agriculture and food security. The authors argue that meeting the goals of eradicating hunger and poverty by 2030, while addressing the threat of climate change, will require a profound transformation of food and agriculture systems worldwide. Agriculture must both contribute more to combating climate change while bracing to overcome its impacts, according to The State of Food and Agriculture 2016. Agriculture, including forestry, fisheries and livestock production, generate around a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The bulk of direct emissions of methane and nitrous oxide are the result of enteric fermentation in livestock, rice production in flooded fields, and the application of nitrogen fertilizer and manure, all of which can be reduced through the implementation of better management practices. This action must begin now because delaying the transformation of the agricultural sectors will force poorer countries to fight poverty, hunger and climate change at the same time. In the publication it is emphasized that smallholders’ adaptation to climate change is critical; integrated policies are needed; and that there is a need for more meaningful climate finance to facilitate the transition to sustainable agricultural practices. At the moment, available finance for investment in agriculture falls well short of needs. Smallholder producers in developing countries face major hurdles in accessing credit for investing in new technologies and practices, and female farmers even more so. Climate finance can also act as a catalyst to leverage larger flows of public and private funding for sustainable agriculture, provided policies and institutional frameworks that promote transformative change are in place. The FAO report describes alternative, economically viable ways of helping smallholders to adapt and making the livelihoods of rural populations — often the most exposed to the downside risks of climate change – more resilient.
In addition to the full report, there is also an executed summary (PDF) available.