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Agriculture and food security

Although global food production has substantially increased in the past few decades, nearly 870 million people still live in hunger today, most of them in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (Aggarwal et al., 2013). Scientists project that increases in temperatures and shifts in rainfall patterns will have a significant impact on agriculture during this century. At the same time, the demand for food is increasing as the global population grows from seven billion now to a projected nine to ten billion by 2050 (FAO 2013). FAO estimates that, agricultural production will have to increase by 60 percent by 2050 to satisfy the expected demands for food and feed (FAO 2013). However impact of climate change is projected to reduce global average yields.

Climate change will affect agriculture through higher temperatures, greater crop water demand, more variable rainfall and extreme climate events such as heat waves, floods and droughts. Marginal areas, where low yields and poverty go hand in hand, may become even less-suited for agriculture as a result of land degradation through deforestation, wind and water erosion, repetitive tillage and overgrazing. Many impact studies point to severe crop yield reductions in the next decades without strong adaptation measures — particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where rural households are highly dependent on agriculture. Farming systems are highly sensitive to temperature increases and volatile climate (World Bank, 2011).

Enhancing food security while contributing to mitigating climate change and preserving the natural resource base and vital ecosystem services requires the transition to agricultural production systems that are more productive, use inputs more efficiently, have greater stability in their outputs, and are more resilient to risks, shocks and long-term climate variability. This transformation will also involve improving producers’ access to markets.

Programme Objectives:

  1. To influence policies and practices that will promote high agricultural productivity, resilient agricultural systems and reduce GHG emission.
  2. Promote innovation, agri-business and value addition