Image credits: Ma Ti
News Article

Joint Approach Required for Climate, Food Safety Crises

By Sofía Hanna | Tue, 06/28/2022 - 16:01

While agrifood systems are in the spotlight given the food crisis, these systems often lack green initiatives that help achieve carbon neutrality. For this reason, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is introducing measures to reduce costs while promoting sustainable development. 


The climate crisis directly affects agriculture. But at a time when the world is experiencing one of its worst food crises, sustainable issues have been given lower priority. Both crises have similar levels of urgency, so many are looking for complementary ways to address both. Time is running out to reduce emissions, stop global warming and face the climate crisis. According to estimates, emissions from agrifood systems represent between 21 percent and 37 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.


Simultaneously, climate change negatively affects agrifood systems in different ways. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and supply chain disruptions are already affecting food production, undermining global efforts to end hunger. Consequently, the number of hungry people could reach one billion by 2050, according to FAO's“Investing in Carbon Neutrality.” 


The globalization of agrifood markets has raised concerns about the effects of trade on the environment and on societies. “One reason is that higher trade costs–related to tariffs, insurance, export and import procedures, border delays and the need to comply with numerous regulations and non-tariff measures–can hamper integration and affect the structural transformation of economies,” said FAO. In low-income countries, the sum of trade costs can add up to 400 percent to the final price of a product. However, global environmental problems, such as greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, are more effectively addressed through multilateral approaches and trade rules that help expand the range of policies that take into account the full costs of these effects, said FAO. Some strategies insist on the importance of geographical insights to map food and agricultural trade to understand the evolution of trends such as globalization and regional integration and their relationship with economic growth, as mentioned in “The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets.” 


“Agriculture is a cause and, at the same time, a victim of climate change and must be part of the solution to the climate problem,” stated Mohamed Manssouri, Director, FAO Investment Center. “The decarbonization of the agrifood sector is possible and not a utopian ideal or an exercise consisting of crossing boxes. Low-carbon pathways exist, as highlighted in the report. However, it requires strong political and institutional commitment, concerted action, strong policies and good governance, and targeted investments and human resources to see results,” added Gianpiero Nacci, Director of Climate Strategy and Implementation, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Photo by:   Ma Ti, Unsplash
Sofía Hanna Sofía Hanna Journalist and Industry Analyst