Farmers face climate challenge in quest for more food

If farmers think they have a tough time producing enough rice, wheat and other grain crops, global warming is going to present a whole new world of challenges in the race to produce more food, scientists say, the Reuters reported.

In a warmer world beset by greater extremes of droughts and floods, farmers will have to change crop management practices, grow tougher plant varieties and be prepared for constant change in the way they operate, scientists say.

"There certainly are going to be lots of challenges in the future. Temperature is one of them, water is another," said Lisa Ainsworth, a molecular biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture.

Spiraling grain prices in recent months have startled governments long used to affordable rice, wheat, soy and maize.

But rising demand and likely greater climate variability and more fluctuations in crop output could mean even more uncertainty for prices.

Current estimates suggest demand for cereals will jump by more than 50 percent by 2050 as the world's population rises from 6.6 billion to about 9 billion.

The world has already warmed by about 0.7 degrees Celsius on average since the 1800s and studies show higher temperatures can cut yields, particularly in the tropics where a lot of rice is grown.

"In Northeastern China, low temperatures, a short growing season and lack of water limit production, so rising temperatures in the future may have beneficial impacts there," said Ainsworth.

"However, in the southern parts of the country, higher temperatures will likely cause yield losses," she told Reuters.

Pollution is another threat. Ozone, which is produced at ground-level by sunlight interacting with pollution from burning fossil fuels, can cut plant productivity. The higher the ozone levels, the worse the damage.

In the northern hemisphere, ozone is a growing problem and is estimated to cost farmers billions of dollars in lost production.

"In the major rice-growing regions, which are India and China, ground-level ozone concentrations even today are very high and certainly exceed the threshold for damage. Ozone is already decreasing yield potential in many areas," Ainsworth said.

Rice is grown in more than 100 countries. More than half the world's population rely on it as their main food source.

A major U.N. climate panel report last year said in low-latitude regions, even moderate temperature rises of between 1 and 2 degrees Celsius could trim crop yields.

In cooler mid to high-latitude regions, localized increases up to 3 degrees Celsius plus higher amounts of carbon dioxide in the air could be beneficial to yields, provided there was enough water.

But anything beyond 3 degrees locally would be bad for crop yields, said the panel's Fourth Assessment Report on the impacts of climate change, which drew on the expertise of hundreds of scientists from around the world.

Studies show that higher carbon dioxide levels, on their own, can boost rice and wheat production but any benefit is negated by the stress caused by higher temperatures, lack of water from changes in rainfall patterns and pollution.

Plants breathe in CO2 to make sugars and other complex compounds grow. Carbon dioxide levels from burning fossil fuels are rising rapidly and are now the highest than at any time in the past 650,000 years.

Last year, they reached near 390 parts per million from about 280 ppm at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Unless nations drastically rein in their carbon emissions, the level could reach 550 ppm by 2050, the climate panel says, leading to sharp increases in temperatures, particularly at higher latitudes.

The trick for farmers is to adapt, and scientists say the crops of the coming decades will have to be very different.

"We will see a suite of new traits that are integrated into the varieties that are planted in the future," said Ainsworth.

"This is something we do need to start soon because anything that we hope to develop today probably won't be in the field until 2018 and the climate then will be very different."

In the Philippines, the International Rice Research Institute has a long history of developing rice varieties. But the pace of climate change in the future is a big worry.

"There is still a lot of uncertainty in the climate modeling when it comes to the regional level," said Reiner Wassmann of IRRI. But it was clear temperatures would rise.

"The other mega trend we see is that we will have more climate extremes. In some places there might be more drought, in others it may be submergence, from floods, in some places it might be both," said Wassmann, coordinator of the Rice and Climate Change Consortium at IRRI.

"That is really a new challenge for development of cropping systems and I don't want to limit it to only plant breeding. We have to be clear that this is no silver bullet and that if we speed-up plant breeding everything will be fine. Certainly not.

"We also have to improve crop management and water saving techniques have come into the picture to cope with drought," he said.

In major wheat grower Australia, higher temperatures will threaten crop yields, depending on the location. But it will be changes in rainfall that are likely to have the biggest impact.

"A rise of up to 2 degrees Celsius, that by itself could be coped with. The much bigger problem is what happens to rainfall," said Mark Howden, a senior scientist with Australia's state-backed research body the CSIRO.

"Once we get above a 10-15 percent reduction in rainfall we start to get into negative conditions for everything," he said.

"Under those circumstances we would see major declines in wheat production even allowing for the technological improvements that we've got under our belts that we could use," said Howden, theme leader of the CSIRO's climate adaptation program.

If the world keeps on emitting greenhouse gases at the present rate, computer models suggest southern Australia will become much drier.

"We will need to think about smart ways of feeding the world," said Howden, who called for more investment for research by government and industry.

"We are looking at a requirement to double agricultural production by 2050, so this isn't the time when we have the luxury of cutting back our agriculture. We're on a treadmill (and) we need to keeping running faster and faster."

Azerbaijani communication operator opens tender on repair, construction work
Azerbaijani communication operator opens tender on repair, construction work
Tender to buy household goods announced by Azerbaijan's Aztelecom
Tender to buy household goods announced by Azerbaijan's Aztelecom
Turkmenistan's Turkmennebit opens tender for purchase of pipes
Turkmenistan's Turkmennebit opens tender for purchase of pipes
Loading Bars
France becomes 2nd EU country with over 1 mln COVID-19 cases, record daily caseloads haunting Europe
Palestinians condemn normalization agreement between Sudan, Israel
New York early voting starts on Saturday, 1st time in its history
McDonald's urges dismissal of Black former franchisees' discrimination lawsuit
Sudan becomes third Arab state to set aside hostilities with Israel this year
Artillery units, command post of Armenian armed forces destroyed as result of airstrikes (VIDEO)
Jeyhun Bayramov met with assistant to President for US National Security Affairs
Military volunteers, equipment of Armenian Armed Forces destroyed in directions of Khojavend, Fuzuli (VİDEO)
UAVs of Azerbaijan do not conduct flight over territory of Armenia - MoD
Azerbaijan has enough armored vehicles in its arsenal, uses them in operational situations - MoD
Information on alleged artillery shelling of Khankendi and Khojavend districts by Azerbaijan - not true
Chairperson, deputy chairperson of US - Educated Azerbaijani Alumni Association appeal to US Secretary of State
Yerevan not interested in peace, wants to escalate conflict, make it a regional one, says Azerbaijani's First VP
Information spread by Armenian side on Iran's artillery shelling Azerbaijan’s positions - false
Turkey reduces volume of exports of mining industry
Iran discloses value of exports from Tehran Province
Georgia increases import of ground and instant coffee
Japan plans to recruit astronauts in 2021, first time in 13 yrs
Kazakhstan increases exports to Denmark despite COVID-19
Azerbaijani FM talks Karabakh conflict with US Secretary of State
Azerbaijani Bank of Baku's net profit declines multifold
Member of UK’s House of Lords condemns Armenia’s missile attacks on Azerbaijan’s Ganja
Rejection of UN’s unfair statement – another diplomatic victory for Azerbaijani president
Azerbaijani Xalq Bank's income for 9M2020 published
Data on cargo handling from US via Turkish ports for 9M2020 revealed
Azerbaijani soldiers liberate cities, settlements from occupation one after another - First VP
Export of cars from Turkey to Russia down – Trade ministry
Export of cars from Turkey to Turkmenistan drops
Export of cars from Turkey to Tajikistan down
Export of cars from Turkey to Ukraine up – Trade ministry
Armenia attracting mercenaries to occupied territories of Azerbaijan
Targeting Azerbaijani civilians by Armenia - crime, says Uzbek ambassador
Azerbaijani MoD shows footage of liberated Minbashyly village in Jabrayil district (VIDEO)
Cabinet of Ministers bans entry/exit to several Azerbaijani cities and districts
Armenia poses threat to Trans-Caspian International Transport Route
Azerbaijan's Xalq Bank discloses its assets for 9M2020
Payments with foreign cards down in Georgia
Export operations between Azerbaijan and Croatia double
New terminal to be built in Georgia's Poti port
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office gives updates on damages, following Armenia's attacks
Meeting between Azerbaijani FM and US secretary of state held
Kazakhstan's import from Poland down amid COVID-19
ADB supports Georgia in its COVID-19 fight
Azerbaijan, Latvia keen to increase mutual investments (PHOTO)
Russian president's statement on Karabakh generally suits Azerbaijan - deputy parliament speaker
Armenians threatening to kill French TV channel's journalist (PHOTOS)
ISET-PI thnk-tank updates its real GDP growth forecast for Georgia
Azerbaijan's troops liberate villages in Khojavend, Jabrayil, Zangilan districts
Azerbaijan liberates 4 Gubadli district villages from Armenia's occupation
Georgia to allocate funds for marketing of its wine
EAEU reveals volume of food oil exports to Turkmenistan
Secretary General of Organization of Islamic Countries supports Azerbaijan
Georgia to issue agricultural loans to promote primary production of annual crops
Turkmenistan's Turkmennebit opens tender for purchase of pipes
Uzbekistan to maintain positive GDP growth despite difficult economic conditions
Uzbekistan’s National Bank likely to be backed by gov't, Fitch Ratings says
Azerbaijani people trust their president - First VP Mehriban Aliyeva
Percentage share of Austria in Azerbaijan's total import slightly grows
Kazakhstan’s KazMunayGas receives ESG rating in sustainable development
Chairman of US Educated Azerbaijani Alumni Association appeals to US Ambassador in Azerbaijan
Surrendered Armenian officer says Karabakh isn't Armenian land
Armenian armed forces' manpower, armored vehicles destroyed, says Azerbaijani MoD (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan itself doing what Minsk Group didn’t - MP
Inflow of funds to Georgia up
Kazakhstan must invest in agriculture technologies oriented towards Kazakh reality
Israel sends humanitarian aid to Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Uzbek import of cars from Turkey shrinks
Ballistic missile attacks on Gabala and other Azerbaijani cities - vandalism and fascism of Armenian leadership - People's Artist
Volume of nine-month cargo shipment from Germany via Turkish ports revealed
Iran to implement second phase of ring road around Hormoz Island
Turkmengas to buy geophysical equipment via tender
New buses to start serving passengers in Georgian Tbilisi
Deutsche Bank: Brexit trade costs will be 'material' deal or no deal
Metallurgical products import to Uzbekistan to be reduced via metallurgical plant in Tashkent
Stable basic export rate could help boost Iran's exports
Iran to settle all wheat farmers' claims
WB implements new project in Georgia
President Aliyev holds phone conversation with father of National Hero of Azerbaijan Shukur Hamidov
Iran plans to establish trade centers
New company admitted to Baku Stock Exchange
Shukur Hamidov's name will be immortalized in Gubadli district
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for October 23
Iran increases number of emergency beds in hospitals
Ambassador welcomes liberation of Azerbaijan's Agbend settlement on border with Iran
Turkey hopes for achieving success in Karabakh conflict settlement together with Russia - Erdogan
Putin's comments were response to those taking anti-Azerbaijani position, analyst says
Kazakhstan's postal service operator to buy petrol via tender
Discussions on Karabakh conflict held at UN Security Council 25 years later - Assistant to Azerbaijani president
Export of cars to Kyrgyzstan spiked - Turkish Ministry of Trade
Turkmenistan increases fruit imports from EAEU countries
It's incorrect to talk about CSTO's help, while conflict taking place in Karabakh - Russian MFA
Azerbaijan confirms 212 more COVID-19 recoveries
No objective benefit for NATO's open support to any party of Karabakh conflict - Russian expert
Georgia reveals total projected harvest of grapes in 2020
Gold, silver prices in Azerbaijan down
Armenia carries out eco-terrorism against Azerbaijan
Georgia names number of beneficiaries received discount cards under agro-diesel promotion program
Captured Armenian soldier admits presence of foreign mercenaries in Armenia (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijani media working hard in information space, demonstrating objectivity, accuracy - MP
Daimler lifts profit forecast as China snaps up luxury cars
All news