How much do Natural Disasters Effect the Future of Global Food Security?

While there is some disagreement over to what degree climate change effects natural disasters, there is a general consensus that the increased emission of greenhouse gases directly correlates to the increased global temperature average. According to NASA, some consequences from the temperature spike could “include increased risk of drought and increased intensity of storms, including tropical cyclones with higher wind speeds, a wetter Asian monsoon, and, possibly, more intense mid-latitude storms” (NASA). The California drought is an example of an effect we see in the United States, but globally, there is much more at stake. The most common impacts to the industry include contamination of water bodies, loss of harvest or livestock, increased susceptibility to disease, and destruction of irrigation systems and other forms of agricultural infrastructure. Developed countries have more stability as they are able to restructure their industry, whereas less developed countries, such as the ones in this case, take a major hit.

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A study conducted by the food and agriculture organization, FAO, analyzed 78 post-disaster needs in 48 developing countries from 2003-2013, and found that 22% of all damages were absorbed by the agricultural sector, including crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries. The previous decade reported half as much damage to the sector. For many developing countries, agriculture is their main source of livelihood. The FAO reported that states of the developing world who have experienced economic damages from natural disasters have faced an estimated cost of $1.5 trillion globally—with $80 billion in losses due to decreased crop and livestock production. Yet, between 2003-2013, agriculture only received 3.4% of the total post-disaster humanitarian aid funding.

Although we cannot conclude that climate change is causing a higher risk and amplitude of natural disasters, there is a possibility these trends to continue throughout the next coming decade. Therefore, the focus needs to be on further analyzing data in order to draw a correlation between resource flows to agriculture and the impact of disasters on the sector. In addition to investing time to closing the data gaps of this correlation, we need to invest more into the agriculture sector so we are not left with food insecurity crisis in the future.

 

Sources:

http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5128e.pdf- images from this report

http://modernfarmer.com/2015/12/climate-change-related-disasters-agriculture/http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/RisingCost/rising_cost5.php

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1 Comment

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One response to “How much do Natural Disasters Effect the Future of Global Food Security?

  1. amyquandt

    Interesting blog. What is the most damaging natural disaster to the agriculture globally? How are farmers adapting to this?

    Like

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