Climate change is affecting crop yields and reducing global food supplies

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agri Knowledge, Climate Change, Food Security | Posted on 10-07-2019

Farm land near Holly Bluff, Miss., covered with backwater flooding, May 23, 2019. AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Deepak Ray, University of Minnesota

Farmers are used to dealing with weather, but climate change is making it harder by altering temperature and rainfall patterns, as in this year’s unusually cool and wet spring in the central U.S. In a recently published study, I worked with other scientists to see whether climate change was measurably affecting crop productivity and global food security.

To analyze these questions, a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment spent four years collecting information on crop productivity from around the world. We focused on the top 10 global crops that provide the bulk of consumable food calories: Maize (corn), rice, wheat, soybeans, oil palm, sugarcane, barley, rapeseed (canola), cassava and sorghum. Roughly 83 percent of consumable food calories come from just these 10 sources. Other than cassava and oil palm, all are important U.S. crops. Read the rest of this entry »

Synchronizing food production can have disastrous effects

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agri Knowledge, Climate Change, Food Security | Posted on 03-05-2019

Global synchronization of food production negatively impacts food security. Shutterstock

Zia Mehrabi, University of British Columbia and Navin Ramankutty, University of British Columbia

Crop failures are an important cause of food price spikes, conflict and food insecurity. The likelihood of local crop failures being catastrophic at the global level is exacerbated when they happen at the same time — that is, when our agricultural systems become more synchronized.

In a paper in Nature Ecology and Evolution, we show that while some crops such as maize and soybean have become less synchronized in recent decades (a seemingly good news story), the synchronization of production between crops increased overall. This has, in turn, destabilized our total global calorie supply.

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Truly Sustainable Food Means Knowing Where It’s From

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agri Knowledge, Food Security | Posted on 15-12-2018

OPINION: If we want our food to be truly sustainable, we need to be able to tell where it comes from

Transparent supply chains can help halt deforestation and protect Earth’s most vulnerable ecosystems.

Our food is eating up the world’s tropical forests, thanks to growing global trade in agricultural commodities from tropical countries. Land for agricultural production comes at the cost of natural habitats, and habitat destruction affects the climate, water cycles and the species that live in them.

Perhaps nowhere is this more obvious than in the soybean industry. Soy is a wonderful crop. Its versatility, palatability and high protein content have made it a go-to ingredient for animal feed. Our growing appetite for meat has pushed global soy production from around 27 million metric tons (30 million tons) in 1960 to around 350 million metric tons (386 million tons) today.

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World hunger has risen for three straight years, and climate change is a cause

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agri Knowledge, Agri Sci, Climate Change, Food Security | Posted on 07-11-2018

A man walks through a greenhouse in northeastern Uganda where sustainable agriculture
techniques such as drought-resistant crops and tree planting are taught, Oct. 19, 2017.
AP Photo/Adelle Kalakouti

Jessica Eise, Purdue University and Kenneth Foster, Purdue University

Leer en español.

World hunger has risen for a third consecutive year, according to the United Nations’ annual food security report. The total number of people who face chronic food deprivation has increased by 15 million since 2016. Some 821 million people now face food insecurity, raising numbers to the same level as almost a decade ago.

The situation is worsening in South America, Central Asia and most regions of Africa, the report shows. It also spotlights a troubling rise in anemia among women of reproductive age. One in 3 women worldwide are affected, with health and developmental consequences for them and their children. Read the rest of this entry »

Food security: vertical farming sounds fantastic until you consider its energy use

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agri Knowledge, Food Security | Posted on 15-10-2018

by Andrew Jenkins, Queen’s University Belfast

A company in Scotland has unveiled what it claims is arguably the world’s most technically advanced indoor farm. Intelligent Growth Solutions’ vertical farm uses artificial intelligence and specially designed power and communication technologies. The firm says this reduces energy costs by 50% and labour costs by 80% when compared to other indoor growing environments, and can produce yields of up to 200% more than that of a traditional greenhouse.

Vertical farms like this aim to minimise water use and maximise productivity by growing crops “hydroponically” in small amounts of nutrient-rich water stacked in a climate-controlled building. But it’s important to recognise that the increased productivity of indoor vertical farming comes at the cost of much higher energy usage due to the need for artificial lighting and climate control systems.

By 2050, global food production will need to increase by an estimated 70% in developed countries and 100% in developing countries to match current trends in population growth (based on production information from 2005-2007). But in countries that already use the majority of their land for farming, this is easier said than done. Read the rest of this entry »