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 Climatic Change And Food Security

Enterprise Issues

With Siaka Momoh

In some African countries, the importance of fish to nutrition and to their economies is particularly high. So, what will people do if fish stocks change because the ecosystem itself begins to collapse?

The growing impact of climatic change on farms will make it difficult to feed the 9 billion world population by the year 2050, said (former) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, at a three-day US-Africa Summit in Washington DC during his tenure as US Secretary of State (2013-2017 in the administration of Barrack Obama).

According to him, “The 7 billion people that we’re focused on feeding today is going to become more than 9 billion people by 2050 that is 35 years from now. And more than half of this population growth, I would add, is expected to occur in Africa.

“But on top of that, the growing impacts of climate change are going to put extraordinary stress on our ability to be able to produce the amount of food that we need to be able to feed those increasing numbers, and, I might add, to feed from increasing numbers from agricultural locations that are increasingly under greater stress and duress.”

Kerry who made these remarks at a working session on Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate explained: “We’re not talking about some distant future. We’re not talking about some pie-in-the-sky unproven set of theories as they were in the earliest days of population growth or other challenges that we face. The impacts of climate change are already being felt everywhere in the world, from the Arctic to the Antarctic and everywhere in between and around. And they’re only going to get worse unless we are successful next year in President Obama’s and many other leaders’ goal to go to Paris and get a global agreement with respect to the reduction of greenhouse gases.

“All you have to do is look at the extreme conditions that farmers are dealing with around the world: hotter temperatures, longer droughts – just look at California, for our instance, and other parts of the world – unpredictable rainfall patterns. I just came from Delhi where they’re having torrential rains in some parts way above the levels they’ve ever had, and as – India as a whole, 25 percent below their average. Intense wildfires, and you can run the list; I’m not going to run it today. But there’s a legitimate question that has to be asked, which is: How do livestocks thrive or even survive under those conditions? What happens if the great rivers of the Himalayas that literally are the life source for so many billions of people on both sides begin to be diverted and dry up because the glaciers are disappearing and the snow levels change?”

He added, “All you have to do is look at our ocean. The same carbon pollution that drives climate change is literally changing the ocean’s chemistry. And we just had two days of a major conference in the State Department on the subject of the oceans. That is making it more and more difficult for species like clams and mussels to exist in its waters. Crustacea, all crustacea, are affected by increased acidity.

“Between ocean acidification, over-pollution – excessive pollution and overfishing, the three great challenges of the ocean, our fish stocks are in serious trouble in almost every fishery of the world. And what will that mean for the 3 billion people who today exist on seafood as their major source of protein? In some African countries, the importance of fish to nutrition and to their economies is particularly high. In Sierra Leone, 70 percent of the animal protein people absorb comes from fish. In Ghana, it’s 51 percent. In Gambia, 49 percent. So, what will people do if those fish stocks change because the ecosystem itself begins to collapse?

“But the intersection between climate change and food is not just about quantity. We’re now seeing that carbon pollution is also making some of the food that we do grow less nutritious than it used to be. For example, rising carbon dioxide levels translate into lower levels of zinc and iron in wheat and other cereal grains. This means that people not only struggle to have enough food to eat; they may also suffer from a so-called hidden hunger; they’re eating, but they’re still deficient in certain micronutrients that keep them healthy. “we are just filling the stomach.

Problem: We are not eating healthy.

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