Tuesday, May 11, 2010

'Invest in research in agriculture to tackle food insecurity'

The Economic Times (India):Warning that the impending process of climate change could lead to food insecurity in less developed and vulnerable countries, an official of the UN food and agriculture wing today asked countries to invest well in research to stave off a possible disaster.

Alexander Sarris, Director, Trade and Markets Division of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) said "uncertainty" among sceptics about the magnitude and timing of the phenomenon of climate change should not become an excuse for not investing enough in research and clean technologies. "Since it is one of the key sufferers of climate change, agriculture can become an important part of the Copenhagen process and the clean development mechanisms".

He said climate change affects food growing practices and would imply greater food insecurities, "largely in vulnerable countries", resulting in large-scale population movement. "Already in Europe we are facing immigration pressures and climate change will increase those pressures," he warned. "Unless considerable research is dedicated to increasing the resilience of agriculture and growing practices, food insecurity is likely to have a major impact," he added.

Referring to climate sceptics, who have labelled the threat of climate change as exaggerated, Sarris said: "uncertainty is not an excuse for not investing in research for obtaining greater resilience". "If a big disaster looms in the future, then action should be taken in the present, notwithstanding the fact that the time or magnitude of the disaster is uncertain," he said. "We should be much more eager to prevent, rather than wait for the calamity to come, because if get too late, the disaster will be upon us," he said…..

Greek women harvesting tea at a Russian plantation between 1905 and 1915, from the Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii Collection (Library of Congress)

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