GLOBAL— Over 60% of the American West, Southwest and Central Plains is categorized as severe drought or higher and the third edition of The American Farm Bureau Federation’s survey illustrates many ground-level impacts of this, including expected reduction in yields, removing or destroying orchard trees or multi-year crops, and selling off portions of herds and flocks.
Nearly three out of four respondents rated a reduction in harvest yields as prevalent or higher, while two out of three respondents reported prevalence of selling off portions of herds or flocks. Across the surveyed region, respondents expected average crop yields to be down 38% this year because of drought conditions.
While rising temperatures are harmful to wheat yields, crop yields do not provide a holistic vision of food security. The impacts of climate change on wheat price, livelihood and agricultural market fundamentals are also important to food security but have been largely overlooked.
An international research team has now estimated the comprehensive impact of climate change and extreme climate events on global wheat supply and the demand chain in a 2 ℃ warmer world by using a novel climate-wheat-economic ensemble modeling approach. the modeling results suggest that global wheat price spikes would become higher and more frequent, thus placing additional economic pressure on daily livelihood.
This interrelation between climate change, and wheat yields and prices is playing out in India where the recent heat wave has caused a 15% hike in wheat prices and a 57% reduction in wheat procurement by the government.
While this clearly indicates a sharp drop in production, India is still forecast to produce its third-biggest wheat crop ever and to export record amounts of the grain. India’s farm ministry raised wheat production estimates to 106.84 million tonnes, up from 106.41 million tonnes in a previous estimate.
The damage to wheat yields would have been worse had the crop not already been at a mature stage. In addition, much of India’s wheat crop is irrigated, reducing the impact of the extreme heat. This clearly illustrates that wheat yields alone can not be an accurate determinant of food security.
“Long-term solutions to drought mitigation must be discussed and implemented to ensure farmers in drought-prone regions can continue to provide safe, affordable and abundant food for their states and the rest of the country.” Said AFBF President Zippy Duvall.
Frank Selten, a researcher at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute and co-author of the climate-wheat-economic ensemble modeling approach study, said that to protect grain food industries in importing countries, support resilience, and enhance global food security under climate change, effective measures in trade liberalization policies are necessary.
Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE.