Director, Laura Burke, chairman, ladies and gentlemen
it is an honour and a pleasure to be here in Ireland
to speak about climate change and agriculture.
Agriculture will be and is already one of the first markers of climate change.
The fear that climate change might disrupt the food system
was present since the beginning of the climate negotiations.
Already in Rio 1992 the ultimate goal of the Convention on Climate Change
calls for a stabilisation of greenhouse gases
in such a time frame "to ensure that food production is not threatened".
We now know that food production will be, is threatened.
Recent extreme events have caused shocks in production
which translate to global markets and trigger food price spikes
with dramatic impact on the most vulnerable.
The FAO Food Price Index is today at its highest historical level.
Agriculture has to face a triple challenge:
first, it has to produce enough food;
second, it has to adapt to climate change to manage the already unavoidable;
third, it can contribute to avoid the unmanageable
and take part in the global cross-sectoral efforts to mitigate climate change
without compromising food production.
Meeting these three challenges all together
requires radical changes of food systems worldwide
towards more resilience and more efficiency.
And here is where we stand now:
The world is globally producing enough food
but there are almost one billion undernourished.
Two billion malnourished lacking essential micro nutrients
and the paradox is that the majority of the malnourished
actually are food producers, small holders and pastoralists.
For them food is not only a basic need
it is also the only and fragile support to their livelihood.
Thirty two states are in food crisis with international emergency action
twenty of them in Africa.
And keep this map in mind -
many of these hungry areas are also among the most impacted by climate change.
The objective is to ensure food and nutrition security worldwide
and so it is not only availability of food,
it is not only global production of calories which has to be ensured,
it is to have food accessible to everyone, everywhere,
physically and economically.
And it is also utilisation, to have the right food in quality and diversity
and it is to ensure the stability of these three components.
The world population will increase by a third from now to 2050.
This two billion increase will be in developing countries (here in light green)
and in the same time there will be more people living in cities -
70% against 50% now.
Urbanisation and income rise in developing countries
are driving an increase in the consumption of animal products.
These are projections.
Considering these trends FAO estimates that
"business as usual" food production
will have to increase by 70% to 2050
to address the amount both in quantity and quality.
Demand for biofuels is another important factor
it is very dependant on national policies
and it is expected to grow, as shown here by the OECD FAO projections.
This map shows a global increase of mean temperatures.
It is indeed impressive.
But climate change is not only increase of temperatures;
there are a lot of factors to take into account;
changes in rain patterns,
increased variability both in temperature and rain patterns,
changes in water availability,
frequency and intensity of extreme events,
sea level rise and salinisation,
perturbations in ecosystems
will all have profound impacts on agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
These graphs compare the distribution of average temperature of growing season
during the last century (in blue)
with projections at the end of this century (in red)
in South Africa and Peru.
They show two major trends,
both susceptible to have a major incidence on crops:
an increase of average temperature, both red graphs are moving to the right,
and an increase of variability, both red graphs are flatter.
It means that not only crops will have to be adapted to a higher temperature
they will have to be more versatile
to accommodate for more unpredictable temperature.
This map shows globally
increases in mean precipitations in the high latitudes
and an overall decrease in many parts of the tropics and subtropics.
And it is not only the annual total of rain which is important
but also the when and the how.
Changes in rain patterns,
changes in intensity will have a strong impact.
Wet extremes are predicted to be more severe in wetter areas (in blue).
Dry extremes will be more severe in dryer areas (in yellow and red).
To cope with increased variability in rain patterns, there is irrigation.
20% of crop land is irrigated and it provides 40% to 45% of the world's food.
But in many areas there is already a lack of available water.
Areas in (red and orange) on the map
already experience today or are close to experience
physical water scarcity
because there is no more water available.
Areas (in yellow) are experiencing economic water scarcity,
there is water available for irrigation but a lack of investment to use it.
The mega-deltas of Asia in Vietnam, Myanmar, India and Bangladesh
such as here
are vital for world rice production.
Increased flooding and salinity is a major threat in these areas.
There are also risks of disruptions in ecosystems' functions,
largely unknown, as diverse species will have diverse adaptation capabilities
such as between pollinators and floral species,
pests and their predators.
With globalisation in climate change, diseases could spread in areas
where animal or plants don't possess resistance.
These impacts will have major effects on agricultural production:
- a decrease of production in certain areas
- changes in the geography of productions
- and an increased variability of production.
These are the results of a study applying IPCC's projections
at a scale compatible with agricultural zones of Morocco
and then using plant models to estimate yields under these conditions.
Temperatures will increase by 3 degrees in 2080
and rain will decrease by 40%.
For irrigated crops, yields will increase
but availability of water could be of concern
but for rain fed cereals, fodder and vegetables
yields start to decrease in 2030.
Brazil has developed since 1996, zonings of climatic risks for 30 crops
used especially by banks for lending
EMBRAPA has projected these zonings using IPCC scenarios
on the left 2010 on the right 2070.
Green is for low climatic risk, white is for high climatic risk,
the other colours designate specific types of risks
for which there could be coping measures such as irrigation.
These maps show dramatic changes
in favourable and unfavourable areas for coffee.
The areas which are at low risk now are at high risk in 2070.
On the other hand areas which were at risk of frost are at low risk in 2070.
So there will be profound changes in land use
and in the geography of production because of climate suitability.
Climate change will also impact livestock.
Elevation of mean temperature and water restriction
both reduce voluntary feed intake and thus performance of livestock.
Climate change will affect quality and quantity of available food,
directly by modifying the composition of pastures,
and indirectly by its affects on availability of feed.
There could be along with globalisation,
modifications in the distribution, intensity
and frequency of diseases and parasites.
For one billion people fish contributes at least 30% of animal protein intake.
Half of this fish is now produced by aquaculture.
Both fisheries and aquaculture production systems
are likely to suffer from the sea level rise,
changes in current sea productivity patterns, flooding,
an increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
Wild foods can make an essential contribution to balanced diets,
especially in certain regions, they are also under threat.
Local impacts will bring global imbalances, with an increase (in blue)
in both crop and livestock productivity in the north
and a decrease in the south.
Among impacted countries figure country already food insecure
remember the map in the beginning
and some very important exporting countries such as Australia or Brazil.
It will induce profound changes in trade with impact on prices
and on the situation of net food importing countries.
Climate change will thus impact the most vulnerable countries
and the most vulnerable people.
It will for instance according to IFPRI
impede the decrease of malnourished children
in low income developing countries.
There will also be important effects on malnutrition.
Most of the studies are focused on cereals,
they don't capture all the nutritional consequences
of the effect of climate change
on vegetables, on wild foods
which have a very important role for balanced diets
and which are endangered by climate change.
Agriculture has to produce more food;
agriculture will be impacted by climate change.
It is also called upon to contribute to mitigate climate change.
But what could be its contribution?
We should not focus on the share of agriculture per se
but consider a global perspective of the emissions of food systems,
including their incidence on forests,
on the energy sector, on transport.
Worldwide agriculture is accounted for 13.5% of the emissions,
it is 29.5 in Ireland.
Agriculture is also a major driver of deforestation
which accounts for 17% and a half
and more broadly, a study in 2006
estimated that 31% of the European Union's emissions
were associated with the food system.
And the question is how
and to what extent, agriculture and food systems
can contribute to mitigate climate change
without compromising food and nutrition security?
This slide is to make three points.
First the main sources of GHG emissions in the agricultural sector are not CO2.
Agriculture is the source of nitrous oxide N2O,
58% of total emissions, mostly through the application of fertilizers,
and of methane CH4, half of the emissions,
essentially by the livestock sector and rice production.
Second, agricultural emissions are dependant on natural processes
and on agricultural practices,
which makes them more difficult to control
and to measure than in other sectors.
And third, agriculture is a unique sector
in that, with forestry, it can capture CO2
and store it in biomass and soil, acting as a sink.
And so you have both emissions, mainly nitrous oxide and methane,
and removals, mainly by carbon storage in soils.
These are projections towards 2020.
As agricultural production is projected to increase
in developing countries, so are agricultural emissions.
It is mostly methane from livestock (in dark green)
and nitrous oxide from fertilizers (in dark blue).
The IPCC estimates the global technical mitigation potential from agriculture
to be 5.5 or 6 billion tonnes of equivalent CO2 in 2030
which is grossly equivalent to three-quarters of the emissions in 2030.
However, only one tenth of this potential is actually reduction of emissions
mainly by improvements in rice management and livestock management.
Nine tenths of the potential in agriculture resides
in enhancing soil carbon sequestration,
through reduced tillage,
improved grazing management,
restoration of organic soils
and restoration of degraded lands
and 70% of the global potential of agriculture as estimated by IPCC
stands in developing countries.
Agriculture has thus to address three intertwined challenges;
to produce more food in quantity, quality and diversity,
to adapt to climate change,
to contribute to mitigate climate change.
In order to do so food systems have to become at the same time
more resource efficient using less land, less water,
less inputs, to produce more food sustainably
and more resilient to change and shocks.
To increase efficiency in the use of resources and to increase resilience,
sustainable intensification of crop production combines
better management of water,
integrated nutrient management, conservation agriculture,
better use of genetic resources,
enhancement of ecosystems' functions and diversification.
This graph shows for some African countries
the gap between the current average national yields for maize (in yellow)
and yields in farm demonstrations using best practice (in green).
For instance in Malawi, the first one,
national average is of one tonne per hectare.
In farm demonstration it goes to 5 tonnes per hectare
which is not that far from yields in main European producing countries
which are around 8 or 9 tonnes per hectare.
And so reducing this yield gap would enable to produce more
and on the same amount of land
thus reducing deforestation.
Water harvesting techniques aim to concentrate and store rain water
in areas where there are periods of water stress.
Zaï pits on this picture are constructed during the dry season
in the arid and semi-arid areas of the Sahel.
Termite galleries encourage rainfall infiltration.
Two weeks before the rains,
one or two handfuls of manure are applied to the bottom of the pits and covered with earth.
Millet is sewn in the pits when the rains begin.
This technique, thanks to local networks of farmers
is now used on more than 200,000 hectares
of degraded lands in Burkina Faso
restoring their productivity from zero
to yields of half a tonne or a tonne.
Nutrients are essential to increase yields
but production of synthetic fertilizers is energy intensive
at a high CO2 and economy cost
and at the field level they translate in nitrous oxide emissions.
So there is a need at the same time to improve fertilization
and to limit the costs and the emissions.
Improving fertilizers efficiency is essential,
It can be done through various techniques.
One way is to more precisely match nutrients with plant needs
during the growing season
such as by fractioning the total amount in multiple doses.
For rice such as here in Bangladesh
deep placement of urea improves nitrogen efficiency
by keeping most of it in the soil close to the plant roots
and out of the flood water where it is susceptible to loss.
In Bangladesh this practice has shown 50 to 60% savings in urea use
and yield increases of about one tonne per hectare.
Inclusion of legumes in rotations, here alfalfa and wheat in Croatia
exploits symbiotic microbes to fix nitrogen of the air
which is then harvested in the crop and partly transferred to subsequent crops
increasing their yield without corresponding increase in fertilizers.
In forage legume/grass mixtures, nitrogen is also transferred
from legume such, as clover, to grass increasing production of the pasture.
What is conservation agriculture?
Conservation agriculture combines minimal mechanical soil disturbance,
permanent organic soil cover and diversified crop rotations or plant associations.
It improves soil fertility and nutrient management increasing efficiency.
In this example in Ghana maize is combined with a legume.
Conservation agriculture protects the soil, keeps it cooler
and reduces moisture losses by evaporation,
increasing resilience to climate variability
and it increases carbon in soil contributing to mitigate climate change.
To face increased uncertainties
we need to be able to rely on the largest pool of genetic resources
and some of them are threatened by climate change
but they are indispensable for adaptation.
We need to keep very diverse genetic material
including traditional and improved crop varieties and their wild relatives.
They are adapted to specific conditions, have been selected for different uses
and constitute the reservoir from which varieties
can be developed to cope with the effects of climate change
such as drought resistance, shortening of the growing season
or increased incidence of pests and diseases.
But it is not enough to have the appropriate genetic resources in a gene bank
or a research centre, they have to be multiplied and distributed
which requires plant breeders, seed enterprises and the proper legal system
to certify their quality and the accuracy of the genetic information.
All these actors and elements constitute seed systems
which enable farmers to have the seeds they need.
These seed systems are lacking in many parts of the world.
There is also a need for regional harmonisation of seed rules and regulations
as crops will move to adapt to climate change.
FAO has supported the introduction in Haiti of the bean variety ICTA Lijero from Guatemala
which is a very early maturing variety
and which is resistant to the Golden Mosaic Virus,
a major plant disease in Haiti.
This variety allows farmers in irrigated plains
to have two harvests of beans before the starting of the hot season
and now 34 community seed producer groups are producing bean seeds.
In the livestock sector, increasing efficiency is the main way to reduce emissions.
Improved fertility, improved health, improved genetics
increase herd productivity and efficiency in the use of resources.
It enables to produce more, more quickly with the same number of animals.
As the emissions per kilo of output depend on animals and on their feed,
the more you produce per animal the less emissions per kilo of output.
More energy-dense feed decreases methane emissions
but the production of feed is a source of nitrous oxide emissions
and could be a cause of deforestation.
Improved manure management can reduce methane emissions.
Grassland management can enhance carbon sinks.
This is an example.
With a death rate of calves of more than 20% (in red on the map),
it takes in most of Africa, five cows to get four calves.
To get four calves, five cows have to be fed, five cows are emitting methane.
Reducing death rate of calves would improve efficiency
both economically and environmentally.
This graph shows
that the more productive a dairy cow, the less emissions per litre of milk .
On the left pastoral systems; on the right intensive systems,
the difference being in a factor of more than six.
This domestic bio-digester in Cambodia produces
enough fuel for daily cooking and lighting
by using the manure of six pigs or two to three cattle.
It provides renewable energy, it reduces deforestation,
it avoids methane emissions,
in addition the resultant slurry is used as a fertilizer to improve soil quality.
Resilience in traditional and pastoral systems combine
spreading risks with diverse species, diverse locations,
herd movement and management of grassland.
Complementary feed can be used during the dry season.
Availability of water is of particular importance as it often limits the movements to food
and increase over-grazing near water points
and so there is a compromise to find,
according to local circumstances, between resilience and performance.
For cattle in Niger here walking to food, walking to water is a necessity;
hardiness and good gaits are conditions for survival.
Depending on local conditions to select for performance in indigenous breeds
will thus be more resilient and could be more efficient on the long run
than crossing with exotic breeds even if it is a longer process.
As performance levels increase, the vulnerability of the animal increases.
Therefore the impacts can be particularly severe for high performance animals
when their environment is not sufficiently controlled.
Heatwaves can cause losses in feedlots or especially in the poultry industry.
In Morocco during the heatwave of July 2009 25% of broilers were lost
more than 60% in underequipped farms.
And for intensive systems which depend on external feed sources
flexibility to adapt to economic shocks such as feed price variations
will be an important factor of resilience.
Diversified rotations such as here in Nepal
including crop varieties and species with
different thermal and rain patterns requirements
are a very effective way to reduce risks and to increase efficiency.
Diversification increases the efficiency of systems
and their resilience at farm and local level.
We can improve crop systems; we can improve livestock systems, or both by integrating them.
Integrated crop and livestock systems at various levels of scale
on farm and area wide
increase the efficiency and environmental sustainability of both productions.
When livestock and crops are produced together
the waste of one is the resource of the other.
Manure increases crop production
and crop residues and by-products feed the animals, improving their productivity.
And in these systems livestock is a strategic element for adaptation.
It is an alternative to cropping in areas which are becoming marginal for cropping.
It is a way to escape poverty and a coping mechanism in a variable environment.
Animals constitute a capital to be converted into cash when needed.
Rice - fish integrated systems are another example of very productive systems
which also provide more balanced diets.
Grasslands including rangelands represent 70% of the world's agricultural area.
Globally grassland degradation is estimated to be 20-35%.
Improved grazing management, lead to greater forage production,
more efficient use of land resources and enhanced resilience.
Diversified grasslands are at the same time more productive and more resilient.
Improving grazing land management is estimated to represent
one quarter of all agriculture's mitigation potential.
Agroforestry here in Niger is also a powerful way to increase efficiency of land use
and to build carbon stocks.
Faidherbia Albida is a very special tree.
It fixes nitrogen, thus increases yields of associated crops.
Increases of up to 100% have been reported.
And it has the special feature of reversed phenology:
it sheds its leaves during the early rainy season and leafs out when the dry season begins.
And thus it does not compete with crops for light, for nutrients or water
and it can provide fodder for livestock during the dry season
and it increases carbon stocks above and underground.
Landscape approaches such as here in the Nile Basin in Rwanda
enable to collectively better manage land, water and biodiversity
with resulted increases in both efficiency and resilience.
These were examples in agriculture but there are also possibilities
to increase efficiency all along the food chains.
Food losses are impressive.
It is food loss but it is also emissions in vain
especially at the end of the food chain.
Differences between regions for the same types of products
shows that there are margin for improvements.
Losses of cereals are half higher in Europe than in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Losses of milk are the double in Sub-Saharan Africa than in Europe.
Where on the food chain do we lose food from field to the consumer?
It depends on the products and on the areas.
In Africa cereals are lost in the first stages,
in Europe they are lost at the consumption stage,
25% at the consumption stage against 1% in Africa.
Again for fruits and vegetables the differences between regions are striking.
In Africa processing and distribution are the weak links,
in Europe it is at the production and the consumption stage
that most of the losses occur.
These wide differences show possibilities of improvement
and there are techniques to reduce food losses.
Use of metallic silos in Afghanistan had reduced storage loss from 20% to less than 1-2%.
In Africa 90% of the extracted wood is used for domestic purposes, mostly cooking.
Improved energy saving cooking stoves such as those in Ghana
contribute to reduce deforestation.
To achieve such changes in agricultural systems and food chains
requires enabling policies, institutions and finances.
Moreover appropriate polices, institutions and governments
are essential to increase systemic resilience and efficiency
at local, national and international level.
Climate change will add more risks to production and aggravate existing risks
especially for the more vulnerable
therefore it is even more necessary to establish everywhere
and for every specific risk, whether climate, animal or plant diseases or even economic,
proper tools to manage them.
We have to limit losses ex ante by monitoring risks,
identification of damage reduction measures,
action at the earliest stage of the event
and then quick reparation of losses to productive assets
can avoid long-term consequences.
Whatever the change, it involves costs
even if the new practice will provide the same (in yellow) income or an improved income.
There are barriers to adoption,
up front costs, income forgone during the transition period
or additional risks during the transition period -
they all have to be covered.
Take for instance mitigation measures.
Mitigation measures in the agricultural sector are considered among the cheapest,
with a quarter of the technical mitigation potential
being estimated as costing less than $20 per tonne CO2.
It's mostly enhancing carbon stocks.
But these estimations compare the income with a new practice,
conservation agriculture for instance,
to the income without the practice
they do not take into account transition costs
nor the cost of the enabling environment
such as extension services for instance.
These costs have to be assessed and taken into account.
There is already a gap today in funding for investment in developing countries.
The needs will increase.
FAO estimated that cumulative gross investment requirements
for agriculture in developing countries add up to nearly $9.2 trillion
until 2050 or nearly $210 billion per annum.
Therefore the decreasing trend in funding has to be reversed.
It includes increasing the share of official development assistance directed to agriculture
and domestic efforts which have to be pursued at the appropriate level.
To achieve the radical changes required,
there is a very strong need for agricultural research and development
but as you can see on this graph
efforts are slowing on every continent since the '80s
which was the period of the Green Revolution in Asia.
So if we are to achieve a change of the same magnitude than in the '80s
investment in agricultural research and development
has to increase dramatically.
Trade is a very powerful tool to build efficiency and resilience
small holders have to be linked to markets with proper infrastructures
either material or immaterial.
International trade is an essential factor of resilience
but at the same time it transmits the effects of shocks
and as such it can also be a factor of systemic risk.
Price volatility is the major threat to the efficiency of the international markets
as buffer of climatic irregularities.
Food security and climate change, both adaptation and mitigation,
have to be considered comprehensively at every level,
local, national, regional and international.
And it shall involve all stakeholders, farmers, agro-industry,
retailers, consumers, NGOs and public authorities.
The Cancun Agreement contains major points for the agricultural sector.
The adoption of the Cancun Adaptation Framework
gives a new importance to adaptation.
The creation of the Green Climate Fund
with the aim of a balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation
will provide new opportunities.
The establishment of REDD+ to protect forests against deforestation and degradation
acknowledges the need to better address the drivers of deforestation,
and many developing countries are including actions in the agricultural sector
in their so called NAMAs; Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions.
Food production is threatened.
To tackle the issue at a global level
food and nutrition security has to be fully accounted for in climate change policies.
Reversely, climate change has to be fully accounted for in food security policies.
The Committee on World Food Security has requested its high level panel of experts
a study on the links between the two issues
on the incidence of climate change and of mitigation measures on food security.
The adoption of the Cancun Adaptation Framework
is also an opportunity to better highlight
food and nutrition security implications of climate change and climate change policies.
FAO has done so in its recent submissions to UNFCCC.
We now need to establish proper links between the international fora
discussing food security issues and climate change. Thank you.
0:00:00 / 0:00:00
Alexandre Meybeck. Food & Agriculture Organisation, U.N
Climate Change & Agriculture: ensuring food production is not threatened