Most of the population of the world affected by food instability is located in the Asia-Pacific region. Currently, 46% of Southeast Asian children under the age of five are underweight, ranking the region as one of the highest in the world for this low measure of child nutrition. With climate change effects the situation is even worst and the ones that are damaged more are those who already needed help.

Climate change started to become an issue for the human being since the industrial revolution. In fact, the new machineries that were used in the firms produced gas that caused a huge increment in the amount of pollution in the earth, responsible for the always increasing temperatures on the surface of the planet(1). All this led to serious problem in agricultural field (decreased precipitation and dryer land) and, consequentially, to shortage of water and rising of food prices.

However, it is fundamental to distinguish two kind of situations that are taking place. On one hand, countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, India, Thailand, and Vietnam are the one that will suffer most of climate change. On the other hand, the colder nations, such as Canada or Russia, will benefit from higher temperature.

Some steps have been designated in order to face this complex issue. First of all, it is vital to encourage agricultural diversity and to solidify agricultural trades. Another crucial step is to create partnerships between governments and farmers. Finally, there must be made efforts in developing new resource-efficient technological advances that can increase agricultural productivity (2).

Furthermore, it will be necessary to modify the daily diet, moving towards an alimentation with an always decreasing percentage of meat. However, this will lead to a proportional increment of agricultural products consumption that will be hard to handle, most of all for the countries we are discussing about, characterized by a growing population.

Additionally, people who live in these areas must be able to adapt their lives to always new situations. For this reason FAO ideated a program whose aim is to guide them towards changes. (3)

Another important topic related with climate change is water conservation. In effect, some farmers must adapt themselves to a decreasing level of water that requires the creation of new methodologies to cultivate the land (for example using rainwater to irrigate the plantations). On the other hand, other farmers will meet with an increasing percentage of water and they may decide to switch their kind of cultivations with others.

Finally, governments should guarantee to the population the construction of new infrastructures (necessary to transport food) able to deal with extreme weather conditions.

Sonia Matera

 

Sources

(1) According to a report published by FAO, the world became 0.6 degrees Celsius warmer between 1890 and 1990.
(2) One example is represented by a program that was successfully developed in China, the so called Climate-smart Agriculture but, at the same time, this is not appropriate for other kinds of countries because it requires economic and technological stability.
(3) see FAO-Adapt

(All the statistics and datas are taken from the background guide of IMUNA 2014 and from the official site of FAO)