by Sharon Omondi
Climate change dramatically impacts food, which is a basic need. Global warming has led to a change in weather patterns, affecting planting and harvesting seasons. According to projections, global warming will raise temperatures and alter rainfall patterns, increasing the frequency of extreme events like droughts and floods. The effects on food production occur when population and demand increase is exerting increasing strain. Since 40% of the food consumed in the UK is imported, the effects of climate change on agriculture throughout the world would directly affect UK food security .
The production of cereal crops, which supplies most of the calories consumed worldwide, comes from vegetable crops and significant nutritional shortages are anticipated, especially in tropical areas.
Effects of Climate Change
- Floods – There has been a great rise in flooding cases worldwide. These costly floods devastate crops and livestock, accelerate soil erosion, pollute water, and damage infrastructure.
- Droughts. In several parts of the world, severe droughts have seriously damaged farmers’ crops, livestock, and livelihoods. Droughts will likely get worse as temperatures rise, depleting water resources and, in some circumstances, igniting deadly wildfires.
- New pests, diseases, and weed problems.
- Degraded soils. Aside from the effects of climate, cropping systems rely on synthetic fertiliser and plough fields on a regular basis, leaving soil bare for most of the year. These practices deplete soil organic matter and inhibit the formation of deep, complex root systems. This contributes to reduced water-holding capacity (which intensifies the effects of drought) and increased exposure to erosion and water pollution (which worsens flood impacts).
The impact of Climate Change on agriculture and farmers
The intense heat may dry crops, cause livestock to die because of extreme dehydration, and farmers may find it hard to take care of their livestock and crops because of extreme temperatures which may lead to an increase in food prices in the event of inadequate food supply.
Farming communities will be among the first to feel the effects of agriculture on water resources, with nearby water supplies polluted or depleted before the damage reaches drinking water and fisheries further downstream.
- Creating awareness is key to helping slow down and reduce the effects of climate change on crops and livestock. Improve soil health by planting cover crops and deep-rooted seedlings, which increase the soil’s capacity to absorb heavy rainfall and hold water during dry periods.
- Redesigning of farms as diverse agricultural systems by incorporating trees and native seedlings, reducing reliance on fertilisers and pesticides, and restoring crops and livestock.
- Create new varieties of crops, livestock breeds, and farming techniques that are specifically designed to assist farmers in adapting to changing climate realities.
- Expansion of conservation programs that make it easier for farmers to adopt sustainable practices that will make their farms more climate resilient.
Since agriculture is based on biological processes that depend on weather and climatic conditions, it is extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Location, social and economic environment, as well as the degree of future global warming, will all have various impacts. However, any degree of climate change will have an impact on the circumstances for growing fruit, grains, and livestock, including temperature fluctuations and water availability. By changing the demand for food production and implementing the best farming and land management techniques, GHG emissions from agricultural output can be reduced.