According to a report by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), global climate change could severely disrupt international agricultural patterns which could lead to worldwide food shortages. Using research provided by United Nations scientists, CGIAR concluded that by 2050, temperatures may have raised high enough to cripple agricultural production in many parts of the developing world.
Severe weather conditions over the past year are certainly a reminder that unstable weather patterns can be devastating for farmers. A drought in Russia last summer, for example, crippled Russian wheat production and lead to political instability in many parts of the world. Heavy rain in the Midwest this spring has prevented many farmers from planting their crops and could cost millions of dollars. Large scale climate changes, particularly temperature increases in sensitive areas, could be disastrous for third world countries.
Particularly problematic is the fact that many of the regions that will be hardest hit by increased temperatures are those that have the most fragile agricultural system. Scientists predict that temperatures could increase beyond optimal growing conditions for stable grains like corn and wheat and that growing times could be shortened by several months. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are likely to be particularly hard hit and both regions have experienced difficulty in adequately feeding their populations.
While researchers are attempting to develop more resilient grains, climate change could be severe enough as to require the production of new crops altogether. In order to prevent political instability, some estimate that first world nations like the United States will need to intervene in order to prevent worldwide food shortages.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer