Climate change could severely impact Asia’s wheat and maize yield in 2020s


Climate change is expected to have a serious impact on Asia's wheat and maize production as early as the 2020s – with a potentially devastating effect on food security, a report warns.

Published by UK-based Centre for Low Carbon Futures, the report  ‘Food Security: Near future projections of the impact of drought in Asia– focuses on the 2020s and highlights the areas policymakers need to address immediately.

The report averaged the projections from 12 global 'state-of-the-science' climate models and found that, compared with the 1990–2005 period, the 2020s will witness increasingly severe droughts across much of Asia, primarily due to the decreasing availability of freshwater from seasonal rains.

This is already a concern in many parts of South Asia, where poor monsoon rains have caused consternation for farmers this year.

"China and India have the world's largest populations and are Asia's largest food producers," Piers Forster, professor of physical science at the University of Leeds's Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, wrote in a foreword to the report.

"We predict that their wheat and maize harvests will be strongly affected by droughts, unless states and communities can quickly adapt their agricultural practices."

China, Indonesia and Pakistan were relatively well-placed to adapt to climate change, the report found. Meanwhile, India was found to have one of the lowest capacities to adapt its wheat production, and central and northern India to adapt its maize production.

The report recommends a series of policy measures to implement over the coming decade, including: immediate action to improve water resource management; the adaptation of farming practices, such as alternating planting dates; and more efficient use of fertilizers and pesticides.

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