HOME          CATEGORIES          OUR TAKE

Climate Change and Famine by City Tech Blogger Yuehan Guo

 

Even without climate change, large numbers of people around the world still face the threat of famine. And climate change may be the one factor that makes things worse. In poor African countries, the food supply in those countries is already in a precarious state. For most Americans, a lower food supply is not life-threatening (and may even be healthier) because Americans eat too much food on average, and much of the food production is hidden in Non-staple food and meat. For example, American families usually consume a lot of meat, the food they consume is not only what they eat, but also includes the food used to feed the animal they eat. This means that when total food production decreases, Americans can choose to reduce the quantity and quality of meat they consume to maintain their food supply, which is the resilience and redundancy of their food supply.

For people in poor countries, their food supply is already close to the minimum needed to survive and is generally protein deficient, meaning that their food supply is inadequate and inelastic, making them vulnerable to fluctuations in food production. At the same time, food is an immediate need, all humans need it. If food production in a region decreases by 10%, food prices rise not in a linear 10%, but rise until 10% of the population cannot afford to buy food.

Also, the role of government in food security is huge, most developed countries have some kind of stockpile strategic grain reserves (SGRs), some developing countries with strong governments (India, China, etc.) also have adequate food reserves. generally, countries that went through the Cold War have good food reserve systems, because war is The most horrible disaster that can greatly harm food production. But for the least developed countries, their governmental organization and economic capacity are not enough to support large-scale food reserves, and their old-style agriculture without the Green Revolution is extremely dependent on natural rainfall and river irrigation, which is another destabilizing factor for food production. These factors make the least developed countries become extreme helpless to fluctuate of food production and perpetuate food shortages. Climate change can make things even worse.

 

One example is a tropical country in Africa, such as Madagascar. Climate change has made the country into a prolonged drought, which has severely disrupted agricultural production. According to a report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the prolonged drought and multiple complex factors have led to a severe decline in agricultural production in Madagascar, “The 2021 harvest of crops like rice, maize, cassava, and pulses is expected to be less than half the five-year average,” and “Drought, sandstorms, plant and animal pests and diseases, and the impact of COVID-19 have caused up to three-quarters of the population in the worst affected Amboasary Atsimo district to face dire consequences”

Another bad thing is the impact of climate change on locusts because the truth is that climate change is not simply causing droughts, but making the existing climate patterns more extreme and strange. While Madagascar is facing huge droughts, the countries of the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya) are facing huge floods, including more than usual hurricanes and floods. This extreme precipitation was a blow to crop growth, but it helped the wild plants, and the vigorous growth of weeds and shrubs provided ample food for the locusts, which allow them to multiply to create a locust plague.

Based on DAISY DUNNE’s conclusion in her article Q&A: Are the 2019-20 locust swarms linked to climate change? “rainfall between October and mid-November was 300% above average. In Kenya, rainfall was up to 400% higher than average.”, and “moisture caused lush vegetation to grow in the usually barren environment, attracting desert locusts hunting for food into the area.” Precipitation caused by climate change promotes the growth of locusts, and once the insects become large they migrate and eat all the vegetation along the way. In this case, the Central African region has almost eaten all the disadvantages of agricultural production, floods, droughts, locusts, with old way agriculture. It is very difficult to solve these problems and there is no time to do so in terms of climate change (people will soon die of hunger), but there are still some solutions.

One possibility is mass production of Fortified Blended Foods, a World Food Programme recommended food for refugee relief, ‘FBFs are blends of partially precooked and milled cereals, soya, beans, pulses fortified with micronutrients (vitamins and minerals)’. The point of mass-producing FBF is that its ingredients can barely provide the nutrients humans need while being cheap enough to purchase in bulk. Most importantly, FBF is the lower limit of food needed for healthy humans, which means that humans can survive entirely on this food alone if needed. If possible, try to stop meat production altogether and use all the land for the production of the raw materials needed for FBF, and promote FBF as a staple food nationwide to simplify the problem, maximize the use of limited agricultural capacity and ensure nutritional balance. In addition, helping Central African countries to create new, climate-resilient agricultural systems is an important task that requires international assistance, including meteorological information, agricultural forecasting and education, agricultural machinery, and new, drought- or flood-resistant special genetically modified plant seeds.

image:

https://www.uniteforsight.org/hunger/module1

Southern Madagascar: Government and UN sound the alarm on famine risk, urge action

https://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1398455/icode

Q&A: Are the 2019-20 locust swarms linked to climate change?

Q&A: Are the 2019-20 locust swarms linked to climate change?

 

WFP web, Specialized nutritious food

https://www.wfp.org/specialized-nutritious-food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment on this article

ClimateYou moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (New York time) and can only accept comments written in English.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE


More Posts Like This

CONSEQUENCES

The Silencing of Science by M.Annenberg, ClimateYou Guest Contributor

(Editor’s Note:  This essay is excerpted from Artist/Writer M.Annenberg’s  artist talk about the melting glaciers of the Hindu Kush) American democracy is skating on thin ice, when the potential loss of drinking water for one billion people, because of melting glaciers, is not considered news in the American

CONSEQUENCES

Despite SCOTUS & Manchin, We Can Still Fight Climate Change

Alarm bells went off last month when the Supreme Court’s ruling clamped down on the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory authority to control carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions under the Clean Air Act. CO2 emissions are the main source of greenhouse gases causing the earth to overheat, changing the climate

CONSEQUENCES

SCOTUS Poised to Handcuff the EPA

In the wake of reactionary rulings by the Supreme Court that seized a woman’s right to abortion after the Justices had unleashed potentially lethal freedoms to gun owners, one can only shudder at the prospect of the court’s upcoming decision on West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Take action in the fight against climate change