How can aid help agriculture become more resilient to climate change?

 
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21 March 2014

KEY FINDINGS

* Review shows that global agricultural production must be increased by about 70 per cent by 2050 in order to provide sufficient nourishment for the world's growing population.

* Focusing on tropical climates to 2050, climate change is likely to reduce the rate of agricultural productivity growth.

* The review finds that foreign aid earmarked for agriculture has experienced a declining trend for several decades reaching a low of 5.4 per cent of all aid from 2003 to 2005.

* Net investments to agriculture must top US$83 billion per year if the necessary productivity increase is to be achieved. This is about 50 per cent more than current levels.

* In some cases foreign aid has been used to develop effective mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Around the world, hundreds of millions of people suffer from malnourishment and food insecurity. Despite pledges at the World Food Summit in 1996 to reduce by half the number of the world's hungry, recent figures indicate that the number of undernourished people in the world had actually increased since the meeting, with the total number of undernourished people in the world in 2009 being 1.023 billion. With continued population growth rates in the developing world, additional funds will be required to improve current agricultural productivity, as well as to anticipate future alimentary requirements. Further exacerbating this dire situation, the FAO predicts that climate change may cause a decline of between 9 and 21 per cent in agricultural productivity in developing countries by 2050.

Given the urgent food security situation and detrimental climate change predictions, it is imperative that climate change mitigation and adaptation measures be incorporated into an increased number of agricultural development strategies, particularly those reliant on foreign aid. This UNU-WIDER study examined the important role foreign aid plays in achieving the joint objectives of development, mitigation and adaptation of agriculture under climate change by examining which strategies have been successful, which strategies could prove effective in the future, and how lessons learned can be scaled up and transferred to additional countries.

Current funding for agriculture is not enough to cover the needs of a world's growing population

Since the 1980s, agricultural productivity has been decreasing. Low prices and market failures have caused investors to become more reluctant to allocate funds to...

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