Agrifood sectors most affected by climate change, UN agency says

Tuesday, December 5th, 2023 00:56 | By
Farmers in a farm. PHOTO/Print
Farmers in a farm. PHOTO/Print

Agrifood systems are facing a growing threat from climate change-related loss and damage, and actions must be taken to address their vulnerabilities, according to a report published on Friday by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO UN).

The report was released on the sidelines of the UN Climate Conference COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It came one day after world leaders at COP28 agreed to operationalise the Loss and Damage Fund established last year at COP27.

“About one-third of current climate action plans explicitly refer to loss and damage … with agriculture being identified as the single most impacted area,” the report said.

Impact assessments of disasters that happened between 2007 and 2022 showed agricultural losses accounted for an average 23 per cent of the total impact across all economic sectors.

“Droughts alone caused over 65 per cent of losses in agriculture during this period, translating to an estimated 3.8 trillion US dollars worth of crops and livestock production lost in the last 30 years,” the report said.

According to FAO, despite its central role in agrifood systems at global level, agriculture “has not been a primary focus in discussions surrounding loss and damage.” It therefore recommends increasing financial support to this sector, since the current level of climate finance is clearly insufficient. In Kenya, the problem is further exacerbated by the fact that 80% of total land cover is arid and semi-arid. Climate change is causing harvest failure, deteriorating pasture conditions, decreased water availability and livestock losses in both farming and pastoral communities, especially in these regions.

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