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UN urges nations to adapt food, agriculture to climate change

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has called on countries to address food and agriculture in their climate action plans and invest more in rural development.

Agriculture in Africa is rain fed and thus vulnerable to climate change. Photo credit: osundefender.org
Agriculture in Africa is rain fed and thus vulnerable to climate change. Photo credit: osundefender.org

The FAO, which made the call in a message to commemorate the World Food Day 2016, emphasised that, by strengthening the resilience of smallholder farmers, food security for the planet’s increasingly hungry global population as well as reduction of emissions can be guaranteed.

The World Food Day 2016 has “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too” as its global message.

One of the biggest issues related to climate change is food security, says the FAO, adding that the world’s poorest – many of whom are farmers, fishers and pastoralists – are being hit hardest by higher temperatures and an increasing frequency in weather-related disasters.

According to the UN body, the global population is growing steadily and is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. To meet such a heavy demand, agriculture and food systems will need to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and become more resilient, productive and sustainable, it contends, adding that this is the only way that the world can ensure the wellbeing of ecosystems and rural populations and reduce emissions.

“Growing food in a sustainable way means adopting practices that produce more with less in the same area of land and use natural resources wisely. It also means reducing food losses before the final product or retail stage through a number of initiatives including better harvesting, storage, packing, transport, infrastructure, market mechanisms, as well as institutional and legal frameworks.

“It resonates with the crucial time in which the day will be observed, just before the next UN Climate Change Conference, COP 22, from 7-18 November 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco.”

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