Agriculture is often the mainstay for people of most developing countries. Most of the poor live in South Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Climate change is causing summers to get hotter, rainfall during monsoons, and the number of adverse weather events is rising.
Agriculture is extremely vulnerable to climate change. It is vulnerable to increasing temperatures, weather variability, shifting agroecosystem boundaries, invasive crops and pests, and more frequent extreme weather events. Weather events will reduce crop yields and affect crops’ nutritional quality. Lower livestock productivity is also projected.
Hotter summers are forcing plants to speed up their growth cycle. Fruiting and seeding are happening quicker, and crops are reaching maturity faster. It is impacting crop yields negatively, and reduced agricultural production is seen. With food production negatively impacted, the poor are most hit. Climate change’s impact is most felt by the poor. Poverty and health are getting exasperated.
It has been estimated that 2.5 billion people in the poorer parts of the world depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Seventy-five percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas and are the most vulnerable. Wheat, rice, maize, and soybean provide two-thirds of human caloric intake. Without effective adaptation and genetic improvement with each degree Celsius increase in global mean temperature, global wheat yields will be reduced by 6 percent, rice by 3.2 percent, maize by 7.4 percent, and soybean by 3.1 percent.
The Food Policy Report of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 2009, has estimated that South Asia will be hit particularly hard. Large-scale yield declines for the most important food crops will be seen. Climate change will increase prices for the most important crops – rice, wheat, maize, and soybeans. Rainfed maize and irrigated and rainfed wheat will see substantial areas of reduced yields.
Higher feed prices will result in higher meat prices. Calorie availability in 2050 will be lower and is expected to decline relative to 2000 levels throughout the developing world. The decline in calorie availability will increase child malnutrition by twenty percent. Aggressive agricultural productivity investments of $US7.1 to 7.3 billion are needed to raise calorie consumption to offset the negative impacts of climate change on the health and well-being of children.
Climate change slows progress toward eliminating hunger. An additional 78 million people will be facing chronic hunger in 2050. Over half of them will be in Africa, south of the Sahara (IFPRI, 2021). To offset this, annual investment in international agricultural research will have to rise from US$1.62 billion to US$2.77 billion annually between 2015 and 2050. More investment will also be required in water and infrastructure.
Climate change increases child malnutrition. Calorie consumption drops dramatically. Aggressive investments to increase agriculture productivity will be required to offset the negative impacts of climate change on children’s health and well-being. IFPRI estimates that additional annual investments of $7.1 billion in developing countries can reverse child malnutrition because of climate change. Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean will require the highest investment.
The South Asian region is projected to show an increase of 7.7 percent in food prices when subjected to high climate impact. The food price increase in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to be higher. Agricultural technologies and improved management practices could reduce food price shock. Natural disasters’ impact will be huge. The World Bank estimates that 18.2 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty when confronted with a high climate impact. (Revised Estimates of the Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Poverty by 2030 Bramka Arga Jafino Brian Walsh Julie Rozenberg Stephane Hallegatte )
Nepal has both mountains and plains. Agricultural productivity in the plains will be negatively affected, and soil erosion and landslides will become more frequent in the hilly parts of that country. Glaciers in Nepal feed rivers. The pace of melting glaciers is reported to increase. As time passes, river water in the dry seasons will become scarcer, affecting riverain communities, hydel power, and drinking water. The impact of climate change on the future of Nepal is not very bright.