Climate change to cut crop output, cost $42 bln a year: report

TSUKUBA, Dec. 12 ― Climate change will lower average global output on key crops such as wheat, soybeans and maize, causing an annual loss of 42.4 billion dollars, according to a Japanese report that studied climate impacts on staple crops.

The Tsukuba-based National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), together with the National Institute for Environmental Studies and the Meteorological Research Institute, released the report on Dec. 11.

The report highlighted the agriculture sector is vulnerable to climate change and it’s now seen much more as an economic issue than a narrow environmental one.

Maize production would have a loss of 22.3 billion yen a year, the biggest loser among vital crops, the report said.

Rice production in value would not change significantly, but it is expected to decrease in quality, it added.

“We urgently need more investment to develop climate change resistant crops, as the demand for food continues to rise alongside the world’s population to feed,” said a NARO official.

Climate change without adaptation can potentially affect farm livelihood and all aspects of food security, the official continues. For example, Japan heavily depends on imported crops for animal feeds.

“Extreme weather events could devastate animal feed imports, if they occurred in major farming countries at the same time,” the official said.

“Addressing the full range of climate change impacts require substantial change in organizational practices and procedures,” he added.

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