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262. Impact of Disasters on Agriculture and Food Security

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In 2019-2020, Australia experienced the worst deforestation in history, losing many lives, infrastructure, flora and fauna. In March 2021, a record-breaking flood that is said to occur once every 50 to 100 years struck, and the social and economic damage suffered by the country, which was hit by extreme weather opposites last year and this year, is immeasurable.

In March 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published a report summarizing the impact of disasters and crises on agriculture and food security, and warned that the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters has become the new normal.

The greatest and direct impact of a disaster on agriculture is a decrease in crop and livestock production, which causes direct economic loss to farmers and extends to the entire value chain affecting the growth of national economies. From 2008 to 2018, losses in crop and livestock production as a result of the disaster were estimated at USD 30 billion in Sub-Saharan and North Africa, USD 29 billion in Latin America and the Caribbean, USD 8.7 billion across Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and USD 49 billion in Asia. 

The disasters that caused losses of crop and livestock production during the same period were drought (USD 37 billion, 34%), floods (USD 21 billion, 19%), storms (USD 19 billion, 18%), pests (USD 9.8 billion, 9%) and wildfires (USD 1 billion, 1%).

There is concern that the world's food supply and demand will become tight in the medium to long term due to the world's population growth centered on developing countries, chronic malnutrition, economic growth in emerging countries, and frequent occurrence of abnormal weather. Therefore, stable and sustainable production of agricultural products in developing regions where food and nutrition shortages are concentrated has become an urgent issue. However, in developing regions such as the tropics, there are many agricultural lands under poor environmental conditions such as low fertility and dryness, and they are vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, so the potential of agricultural production has not been fully exhibited. To address these problems, JIRCAS is developing breeding materials and basic breeding technologies for rice and soybeans that can adapt to environmental stress such as drought.

FAO. 2021. The impact of disasters and crises on agriculture and food security: 2021. Rome.  http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/cb3673en

Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Research Strategy Office)

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