Market integration offers climate-related food insecurity solution

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Washington D.C, Feb 15 (ANI): Global market integration can help offset climate-related food insecurity, according to a Purdue University agricultural economist.

Rising temperatures and an increase in extreme weather events will likely have adverse impacts on global crop production, leading to higher food prices and food scarcity. But global markets that have the ability to deliver food where it is needed most could help offset these consequences, said Thomas Hertel.

“If the pessimists are right, if we see the worst-case climate impacts in agriculture, what could we do in terms of economic adaptation?” he said. “Trade agreements could significantly moderate some of the worst effects on food security.”

Global agriculture stands to suffer under future climate change. A predicted increase in the frequency of extreme weather events such as droughts and floods could buffet crop yields over the next few decades. But short-term climate impacts will vary by crop and region, Hertel said, with some areas benefiting as crop production shifts geographically.

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After 2050, however, the outlook for agriculture at the global level becomes “overwhelmingly negative,” he said, with warmer temperatures blistering crop production, decreasing the availability of food and boosting commodity prices.

With current trade policies, the number of people in South Asia suffering from malnutrition would rise 120 percent by 2050 under the worst-case climate change scenario. Economic models indicate that fully integrated world markets would dramatically stem these effects, offering “insurance” against the most severe outcomes predicted, Hertel said.

Importantly, research on the impacts of climate on poverty must avoid using crop prices as a metric for food security, he said. The effects of higher crop prices vary widely by country and household, and some studies have shown that higher food prices have actually lowered absolute poverty.

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The research has been presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. (ANI)

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