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FAO calls for urgent action on climate change

Efforts to reduce world hunger must go hand-in-hand with policies to tackle climate change, an influential food body has said.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned that a business as usual approach to agriculture and food production risked putting millions more people at risk of hunger if climate change adaptation measures are not taken immediately.

It noted that most affected would be populations in poor areas in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia, especially those who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.

The link between climate change and hunger was laid out in the FAO’s The State of Food and Agriculture 2016 report, which stated that uncertainties caused by climate change, including poor harvests, would translate into volatile food prices that everyone would pay for, not just those countries suffering from droughts.

Overhauling farming and food systems would be complex due to the vast number of stakeholders involved, the multiplicity of farming and food processing systems, and differences in ecosystems. Yet, the FAO said efforts must begin immediately as the adverse impacts of climate change will only worsen with time.

The FAO report emphasised that success in transforming food and agriculture systems will largely depend on urgently supporting smallholders in adapting to climate change.

It added that food systems could further contribute by minimising food losses and waste, as well as by promoting healthier diets that have a smaller environmental footprint.