Monday, July 15, 2024

Is global food “spoilt” by climate change?


Climate change increases agricultural crop shortages, leading to higher prices for commodities such as orange juice, olive oil and cocoa, the agency said.BloombergAmerican.

Apart from pests and “plant diseases”, high temperatures resulting from pre-warming affect different crops.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), plant diseases cost the global economy more than $220 billion annually, and invasive pests at least $70 billion.

According to Leah Buckman, an entomologist at Georgetown University in the US, insects are adapting easily to a changing climate because higher temperatures allow them to reproduce faster and migrate faster, leading to reduced crop yields.

“As temperatures rise, the geographic range of plant disease-carrying insects increases,” Bockman said.

As a result, destructive butterflies native to the Americas have been found devouring maize and other grains throughout Africa and Asia. Whitefly, associated with tropical and subtropical climates, also destroyed tomato gardens in Europe.

Cocoa and tomatoes

West Africa, home to two-thirds of the global cocoa supply, has experienced severe difficulties with its crop in recent seasons, with wholesale prices hitting near-historic levels this year.

Prolonged heavy rains increased the chances of “black pod” disease, caused by a fungus-like organism that rapidly spreads and turns wet cocoa pods black or brown.

According to several studies, “black pods” destroyed up to 30 percent of the annual cocoa crop.

The second disease is swollen bud virus, which is transmitted by mealybugs, an insect that feeds on the sap of cocoa plants. This pest can drastically reduce crop yields before killing the cacao plant.

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Mealybugs breed in warm temperatures and can spread the virus quickly, even if only one seedling is infected.

Uprooting infected trees is the only way to control the disease, according to the World Agriculture Organization.

And last July, the price of tomatoes in India went up by 700 percent, so extraordinary that it was ridiculed on social media.

Crop production suffered amid delayed monsoon, heavy rains in some planting areas and above-normal temperatures in June. But the tomato crop was particularly affected by the so-called silver leaf whitefly.

Feeding on sap – the liquid that travels through the vascular tissue of the plant – this insect is capable of transmitting hundreds of plant viruses, preventing the production of staple crops such as tomatoes, as well as cassava (also known as cassava, a woody plant. South America), beans and sweet potatoes. .

In India too, the insect-borne tomato leaf curl virus has contributed to devastating losses.
The virus recently arrived in Europe, possibly from India, and has caused outbreaks in several European countries.

Olive oil

With the combination of warmer weather and higher humidity, the insects showed greater ability to adapt to changes in agricultural ecosystems, which provided an ideal environment for their reproduction.

Spain – the world’s largest producer of olive oil – is facing a crisis of its own as drought has reduced production and doubled costs.

Global grain trade has faced problems for a number of reasons, not least Russia’s recent war against Ukraine.

While prices were more or less under control, unfavorable weather and pests caused problems for local production in some countries.

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In China, one of the world’s largest corn producers, pests such as fall armyworm are attacking plants earlier than usual.

Warmer and wetter weather favors the survival and reproduction of this pest, allowing the caterpillars to begin their attacks much earlier in the crop cycle.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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