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World farm output to drop due to global warming: experts

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Dec 4, 2007
Global warming is likely to cause a significant decline in world agricultural output, with poor countries in Africa set to be hurt the most, a group of farm experts said Tuesday.

As a result, policymakers must take into account food issues when dealing with climate change, a report by the International Food Policy Research Institute said.

"World agricultural output is projected to decrease significantly due to global warming, and the impact on developing countries will be much more severe than industrialised nations," said the report, released in Beijing.

"Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change because of its high proportion of low-input, rain-fed agriculture, compared with Asia or Latin America."

In the report, the group urged policymakers to take agriculture and food issues into account when developing national and international climate change agendas.

The report, titled "The World Food Situation," was released at an international conference aimed at addressing a global rise in food demand.

While hundreds of millions have emerged from poverty through better agricultural techniques, rising standards of living mean that more grain is being used to produce high value products like meat and diary products, the report said.

This in turn makes grain prices rise as demand grows, making it harder for poorer people in the developing world to fulfil their daily food needs.

Due to rising oil costs, the production of biofuels as an alternative energy source was also adding to dramatic changes in the world food situation, which "will adversely affect poor people in developing countries," the report said.

The group called on developed nations to lower trade barriers on farm products and reduce biofuel production, while developing nations needed to invest more in their farming infrastructure.

"Surging demand for feed, food and fuel have recently led to drastic price increases, which are not likely to fall in the foreseeable future," said Joachim von Braun, lead author of the report.

"The days of falling food prices may be over."

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Toll Of Climate Change On World Food Supply Could Be Worse Than Thought
Washington DC (SPX) Dec 04, 2007
Global agriculture, already predicted to be stressed by climate change in coming decades, could go into steep, unanticipated declines in some regions due to complications that scientists have so far inadequately considered, say three new scientific reports.

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