One of the biggest ways in which climate change is affecting humanity is through the land and natural resources that we all depend on for food. Climate change will affect all four dimensions of food security: food availability, food accessibility, food utilization and food systems stability. It will have an impact on human health, livelihood assets, food production and distribution channels, as well as changing purchasing power and market flows.
For the more than 2.5 billion people worldwide who directly depend on agriculture for their livelihood, the availability of resources is a matter of survival. Impacts on agricultural production and prices—triggered by either gradual changes in long-term climate trends or more frequent and severe natural disasters—will affect poor people through food production impacts, higher food prices, and changes in rural incomes. Understanding and forecasting the agricultural production supply, quality and diversity, as well as where food loss is occurring across regions, will be significant factors in reducing human, environmental, economic and food security impacts.
Example areas of need:
- Mapping or measuring the risks to farmers’ income throughout the food supply chain
- Understanding and forecasting of the food supply chain, its vulnerabilities and food loss points
Nutrition is another critical public health challenge that is expected to worsen with climate change. Global climate models suggest that by 2050, climate change will result in additional price increases of 5–25 percent for the most important agricultural crops—rice, wheat, maize, and soybeans—and that higher feed prices will result in higher meat prices*. As food prices increase, the risks of malnutrition and poverty increase. Additionally, seasonality, which is compounded by climate change, can have substantial effects on people’s nutritional status. Women and young children are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition as a result of seasonality. Despite the substantial nutritional impacts of seasonality, policymakers and program implementers are at times unaware of these effects owing to inadequate data.
*Nelson et al. 2009
Example areas of need:
- Understanding, forecasting or raising awareness of constraints on food availability, affordability, and consumption, including local prices and seasonality
- Linking seasonal food production and consumption with nutrition and health, including behavioral aspects, and identification of options for intervention