As the world’s population continues to rise, a new study indicates a decline in agricultural productivity due to the effects of climate change, so farmers grow 20% less food, than if environmental conditions were the same as in the 1960s, and researchers say that the main factor is changing weather patterns, including It increased floods and droughts in different regions.
Regions like Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa were the hardest hit, with agricultural growth only a third of what it could be.
“When a farmer makes an economic decision like what to plant in June, we won’t necessarily know the outcome of that decision until six months later,” said Robert Chambers, a professor of agriculture at the University of Maryland.
“So there is a clear line between inputs and outputs, and random events like weather can severely influence that,” added Chambers, co-author of a new study in Nature Climate Change.
“Farm productivity accounts have not historically integrated weather data,” he explained, “but we want to see trends in these inputs beyond the control of farmers.”
Chambers and Ariel Ortiz-Popia, an economist at Cornell University, created a model to calculate productivity as it is now and where it would be if weather patterns remained the same for decades.
They found a 21% decrease in global agricultural productivity since 1961, and yet the effects are not uniform: the study concluded that warmer regions such as Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean experienced slowdowns of growth of between 26% and 34%.
With the world’s population expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, Chambers warned that basic agricultural productivity not only needs to stabilize, but must grow faster than ever before.