As human activities increase, the world is undergoing rapid changes which result in the melting of glaciers across the globe. Consequently, the world is faced with climate change at an unprecedented level. From monsoons in Southeast Asia to hurricanes in America and droughts in Africa, receding and surging water flows have become the cycle of people’s lives.
Africa has been hit disproportionately hard by the fallout from climate change, which has aggravated droughts, flooding and cyclones across the continent in recent years. And in this year alone, not less than 1,466 deaths have been recorded across the entire continent.
Hurricane Fiona made landfall In America and the Caribbean, destroying power lines, roads, houses and telecommunication infrastructure. South-East Asia has not been spared of floods whose patterns are governed by the volume of rain that comes with the summer Monsoon season. In the state of Himachal Pradesh in India, annual Monsoon floods killed over 1,550 people in five years.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have also been flood-ravaged, resulting in loss of lives and massive destruction of food crops. Climate change definitely has direct impacts on food systems and food security and as such, the 2022 floods which have affected at least 40 countries pose bad news for food security. And the World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organisation have said the food security situation in Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen is highly concerning.
The effect of the coronavirus pandemic coupled with the offshoot of the Ukraine war has affected global food prices, especially of essential food commodities like wheat. To cap it, the floods have submerged hectares of arable land in several countries and this has had a big impact on food production.
According to the National Emergency Management Agency, 33 of 36 states in Nigeria have so far experienced floods. Many of the affected states are food-producing ones. While parts of Jigawa in the North West are under water with foods like cassava, corn and yam being likely affected, some others like Benue and Taraba are experiencing twin attacks from flood and armed groups.
Across the continent, the FAO reckons that Africa will produce 4% less cereals than it did last year due to low rainfalls in Kenya and dried-out hectares of land in Somalia and Ethiopia. Regionally, 38.2 million people are projected to be food insecure across West and Central Africa while 10 of the 48 Asian nations recognised by the UN are food deficit.
As the effects of climate change continue to worsen around the world, it will have a major impact on food production and far-reaching implications for food security. This will further complicate fragile food security systems that are already impacted by local conflicts such as the Boko Haram insurgency and the Pastoral Conflicts in Nigeria, and regional conflicts such as the multi-faceted insurgencies and wars in the Horn of Africa.
Agriculture is simultaneously a major contributor to climate change, and a victim of it, as flooding around the world shows. Recent events should make clear the need for urgent and concerted actions by countries to reverse climate change and build in climate resilience.
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