Climate change and increasing temperature on the planet have risen the frequency droughts, floods, storms and other natural disasters in last three decades. These weather activities have increased damaging the agriculture sector in many developing countries and posed challenges in front of food security.
It was highlighted in the study, Impact of Disasters on Agriculture and Food Security, released by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome today ahead of United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris.
Worldwide, between 2003 and 2013 – the period analyzed in the study – the average annual number of disasters caused by all types of natural hazards, including climate-related events, almost doubled since the 1980s. The total economic damage caused is estimated at US$ 1.5 trillion.
Focusing specifically on the impact of climate-related disasters in developing countries, some 25 percent of the negative economic impacts were borne by the crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors alone. In the case of drought, over 80 percent of the damage and losses affected the agriculture sector, especially livestock and crop production.
The FAO report is based on a review of 78 on the ground post disaster needs-assessments conducted in developing countries coupled with statistical analyses of production losses, changes in trade flows and agriculture sector growth associated with 140 medium and large scale disasters – defined as those affecting at least 250,000 people.
The report clearly demonstrates that natural hazards – particularly extreme weather events – regularly impact heavily on agriculture and hamper the eradication of hunger, poverty and the achievement of sustainable development.
The situation is likely to worsen unless measures are taken to strengthen the resilience of the agriculture sector and increase investments to boost food security and productivity and also curb the harmful effects of climate change.
FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva noted how the international community recently committed itself to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and is expected to reach a climate change agreement at the COP 21.
Measuring progress made in meeting these global targets will require accurate, up-to-date information, including on the impact of disasters.