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Impact of Disasters on Agriculture and Food Security in 2023

Impact of Disasters on Agriculture and Food Security

Context:– Disasters are resulting in unprecedented levels of destruction across the world. These shocks and disruptions significantly impact the functioning and sustainability of agricultural production. Consequently, they pose a threat to the livelihoods of millions of people reliant on agrifood systems. The publication titled ‘The Impact of Disasters on Agriculture and Food Security’ by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Report offers a comprehensive view of how disasters are affecting global agriculture and food security.

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Key Insights:

  • Over the past three decades, natural disasters have resulted in estimated losses of $3.8 trillion in crops and livestock production. Moreover, Asia bears the largest economic burden in this scenario.
  • On an average, this loss amounts to $123 billion per year, accounting for 5% of the global agricultural GDP annually.

Nature of Hazards:

  • Agriculture faces various hazards including meteorological, hydrological, geohazards, environmental, biological, societal, armed conflicts, and technological and chemical threats.
  • The frequency of disaster events has risen significantly from 100 per year in the 1970s to approximately 400 events per year globally in the last two decades.

Report’s Key Findings:

  • The report analyzes the extensive impact of disasters on agriculture, spanning crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture.
  • It highlights how underlying factors like climate change, pandemics, epidemics, and conflicts contribute to disaster risk in agriculture and its related systems.

Impact on Agriculture:

  • Disasters have caused $30 billion in losses to the agriculture sector out of a total of $140 billion across all sectors, averaging a 22% share in economic impacts.
  • Multiple hazards including flooding, water scarcity, droughts, yield declines, and environmental degradation are threatening global agricultural stability.

Effects of Extreme Events:

  • Variations in water supply and extreme temperatures significantly impact agricultural production, leading to agricultural drought and reduced yields.
  • A recent study revealed a threefold increase in the severity of heatwaves and drought impacts on crop production from 1964-1990 to 1991-2015.

Conclusion and Recommendations:

  • To bolster resilient agrifood systems, understanding interconnected risks and underlying drivers of disaster risk is crucial.
  • Investments in improved data monitoring and collection are fundamental. They aid national capacities in comprehending and mitigating disaster risks in agriculture and associated systems.
  • To address compounded crises and bolster resilience in agrifood systems, integrating multi-sectoral and multi-hazard disaster risk reduction approaches into policymaking is essential.

Investments focused on resilience emerge as critical in mitigating disaster risks in agrifood systems. Simultaneously, these investments enhance agricultural production and livelihoods.

Read Also: Mitigation of Volcanic Disasters

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