Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva, said that failure to act now to make our food systems more resilient to climate change will “seriously compromise” food production in many regions and could make efforts to end hunger and extreme poverty by 2030 unattainable.
Mr. Silva stressed, “agriculture holds the key to solving two of the greatest problems now facing humanity: eradicating poverty and hunger, and contributing to maintaining the stable climatic conditions in which civilization can thrive.” He further added, “the vast majority of the extremely poor and hungry depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and they are the most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming and an unstable climate.” Improving yields and building resilience for such farmers could be accomplished through innovative approaches such as green manuring, greater use of nitrogen-fixing cover crops, improving sustainable soil management, agroforestry techniques, and integrating animal production into cropping systems. “But farmers also face major barriers, such as the lack of access to credit and markets, lack of knowledge and information, insecurity about land tenure and high transaction costs of moving away from existing practices,” he said. “Adaptation to climate change makes economic sense: the benefits of adaptation are much bigger than the costs,” he related with the idiom- an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
According to Graziano da Silva, one critical front for action is water management, as millions of the world’s small-scale farmers are already wrestling with water scarcity, which will likely intensify as a result of climate change. This is why at the last UN climate change conference FAO and partners launched a global framework on water scarcity in agriculture that aims to support developing countries in bringing stronger policies and programmes for the sustainable use of water in agriculture online. He pointed to the fact that 70 countries do not have established meteorological services as an example. FAO is working with the World Meteorological Organization to develop low-cost, farmer friendly services to address this need. The World Government Summit (WGS) is a platform that brings together leaders and policy makers to showcase future trends in government services, leadership, innovation and economic policies.
Source: FAO website (Edited)