Up to 25 million more children will be malnourished in the next 40 years due to climate change, with sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia the worst affected, according to a new report issued today.
The report, released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and detailing the impact of climate change on agriculture, says without climate change about 113 million children under five years of age will be malnourished by 2050.
But that number is expected to rise dramatically due to the ravaging effects of global warming on food production around the world, IFPRI said.
“Crop yields will decline, production will be affected, crop and meat prices will increase and consumption of cereals will fall, leading to reduced calorie intake and increased child malnutrition,” the report reads.
The IFPRI said although food prices would rise even without climate change, the added effect of global warming would worsen the problem.
“Without climate change, 2050 wheat prices will increase globally by almost 40 percent. With climate change, wheat prices will increase by 170-194 percent,” it said.
“Rice is projected to increase 60 percent without climate change, but it will go up 113-121 percent with climate change.”
IFPRI said global warming would push maize prices up by between 148 % and 153 %.
The institute said African countries were especially susceptible to global warming because of their dependence on rain-fed agriculture, higher levels of poverty and poor infrastructure.
In most sub-Saharan African states agriculture accounts for more than a quarter of GDP, as well as a large chunk of export earnings and jobs.
Gerald Nelson, IFPRI senior research fellow and lead author of the report, said increased funding of up to $7 billion (R54 billion) a year to help farmers raise productivity and adapt to the effects of climate change could avert the climate change impact.
“Investments are needed in agricultural research, improved irrigation, and rural roads to increase market access for poor farmers,” Nelson said in a statement.
World leaders pledged last week to step up efforts to reach a UN deal to fight climate change, but critics say the pledge is not enough.
Some 190 countries will gather in Copenhagen in December to try to reach an agreement on how to slow global warming, replacing the emissions-capping agreement known as the Kyoto Protocol.
Pic: Poverty in Africa