Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Climate change 'biggest threat' to food security

Amantha Perera in IPS: When it comes to expressing the threat to food security posed by changing climate patterns and extreme weather events in Asia and the Pacific, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) does not mince its words. "The greatest threat to food security is climate change," the Bank said in a 45-page report, ‘Food Security and Poverty in Asia and the Pacific: Key Challenges and Policy Issues’, released late last month.

The report’s findings ring especially true in Sri Lanka, where experts are increasingly expressing concerns about the twin crises of food security and global warming.  The ADB study looked at areas that could affect food security, such as trade policies, development, the demand for food and resource management and possible mitigation efforts. It tagged climate change as a key player in determining food security levels, as interventions needed to stem the impacts of global warming go beyond national borders and surpass the authority of any single government.

"Problems caused by climate change are much more difficult to resolve in the short term and will require long-term and internationally coordinated solutions," it said.

Sri Lankan climate change expert Riza Yehiya, an architect and sustainability consultant, echoed the ADB’s sentiments.  "The issues of climate change and food security in Sri Lanka are becoming alarming," he told IPS, adding that changing climate patterns combined with a lack of proper policies to mitigate adverse impact have put the South Asian island in a precarious position.

Though Sri Lanka is yet to experience protracted and deadly food shortages due to changing weather patterns, recent experiences have shown that its vital rice harvest does fluctuate wildly depending on rainfall....

A rice paddy in Matugama, Sri Lanka, shot by Freelk, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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