Options for support to agriculture and food security under climate change

Options for support to agriculture and food security under climate change

This journal article highlights that agriculture and food security are key sectors for intervention under climate change.

It highlights that agricultural production is highly vulnerable even to 2C (low-end) predictions for global mean temperatures in 2100, with major implications for rural poverty and for both rural and urban food security. Agriculture also presents untapped opportunities for mitigation, given the large land area under crops and rangeland, and the additional mitigation potential of aquaculture.

The paper presents a summary of current knowledge on options to support farmers, particularly smallholder farmers, in achieving food security through agriculture under climate change. Actions towards adaptation, outlined in the article, fall into two broad overlapping areas: 
(1) accelerated adaptation to progressive climate change over decadal time scales, for example integrated packages of technology, agronomy and policy options for farmers and food systems, and (2) better management of agricultural risks associated with increasing climate variability and extreme events, for example improved climate information services and safety nets.

Maximization of agriculture’s mitigation potential will require investments in technological innovation and agricultural intensification linked to increased efficiency of inputs, and creation of incentives and monitoring systems that are inclusive of smallholder farmers. Food systems faced with climate change need urgent, broad-based action in spite of uncertainties.

The paper concludes that food systems faced with climate change need urgent action in spite of uncertainties around the direction and magnitude of climate change and uncertainty in the realm of food production and its impact on food systems and food security across complex geographies and societies.

It is argued that the urgency of climate change provides a new impetus for paradigms of integrated research, policy and action and there is a pressing need to invest in databases and tools to inform policy and practice in the spheres of agricultural risk-management, adaptation and mitigation.
It is recommended that action will need to move ahead of knowledge, with decisions made and reviewed on the basis of emerging research and consensus. There is a need to integrate and apply the best and most promising approaches, tools and technologies.

It is argued that the involvement of farmers, policy-makers, the private sector and civil society is vital. Successful mitigation and adaptation will entail changes in individual behaviour, technology, institutions, agricultural systems and socio-economic systems. These changes cannot be achieved without improving interactions between scientists and decision-makers at all levels of society.

[Adapted from source]

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