Saturday, August 25, 2007

Climate change likely to increase risk of hunger- FAO

Afriqueenligne: Climate change is likely to undermine food production in the developing world, while industrialized countries could gain in production potential, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned. Greater frequency of droughts and floods would affect local production negatively, especially in subsistence sectors at low latitudes, Jacques Diouf, the FAO Director -General said in a media communiqué availed to PANA here Friday.

"Crop yield potential is likely to increase at higher latitudes for global average temperature increases of up to 1 to 3°Centigrade depending on the crop, and then decrease beyond that," he said. "On the contrary, at lower latitudes, especially in the seasonally dry tropics, crop yield potential is likely to decline for even small global temperature rises, which would increase the risk of hunger," he added.

The impacts of climate change on forests and on forest dependent people are already evident in increased incidences of forest fires and outbreaks of forest pests and diseases. Climate change adaptation will be needed in a variety of ecosystems, including agro-ecosystems (crops, livestock and grasslands) forests and woodlands, inland waters and coastal and marine ecosystems, according to Diouf.

…"Exploiting the new biotechnologies, including in particular in vitro culture, embryo transfer and the use of DNA markers, can supplement conventional breeding approaches, thus enhancing yield levels, increasing input use efficiency, reducing risk, and enhancing nutritional quality," he said.

But he cautioned that most genetically modified (GM) crops being cultivated today were developed to be herbicide tolerant and resistant to pests.

Development of GM crops with traits valuable for poor farmers, especially within the context of climate change- such as resistance to drought, extreme temperatures, soil acidity and salinity- is not yet a reality, he cautioned…

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