As the world warms it is having impacts on the seas, rainfall, crops and a plethora of other aspects of the planet. Such changes have the ability to impact all aspects of life on this planet, including food production. Food production and food security are growing issues in an increasingly warmer world.
Studies have found that certain staple crops, such as wheat, corn and rice, could become more difficult to grow in many regions as the world’s temperature climbs. Wheat is currently a main staple around the globe for many and it is one of the crops most likely to be impacted. Warmer growing seasons and shorter good growing seasons are both potential issues farmers face.
Many of the regions expected to face crop production issues are high-density and often poor. In Africa, for instance, a UN Food and Agriculture Organization study found that upwards of sixty-six percent of lands able to grow crops could be lost by 2025. Lands which are currently being used for agriculture may also be lost, upwards of fifty percent by 2050.
The UN requested CGIAR, a global agricultural research partnership, to research how a warming world would impact food sources around the globe. The researchers analyzed the impact of increased temperatures on twenty-two top food crops globally. Overall the team found that some of the most popular crops will be replaced with crops that are hardier and more resistant to drought.
Wheat, maize and rice were all noted for likely decreasing in use, especially in developing countries, due to growing issues. Potatoes will also likely see a reduction in use as they are a cooler weather crop. However, foods such as bananas, cassava and cowpea will likely become popular globally under warmer conditions.
The cowpea is a legume which is considered greatly drought resistant and easy to grow, even in poor soil. The cowpea is expected to replace the currently popular soybean, which is less adaptable. Cowpeas are also commonly grown in Africa but are not well-known globally. The researchers believe this is likely to change in the future.
Bananas are expected to be able to be grown in many locations currently growing potatoes, which is why the crop is considered likely to be a replacement for potatoes for many. The cassava is expected to be a go-to crop for South Asia as they are resistant to the expected pressures of climate change.
The researchers noted that many regions are already experiencing crop disruption and are looking for alternatives.