Climate Change Affects Food Production and Agriculture
As an Islamic charity, we can say with confidence that the effects of climate change impact crops globally. Some of the impacts include higher temperatures, water scarcity, floods, droughts, and higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In fact, a global water crisis, plant diseases, and extreme weather events have all resulted in a significant decline in wheat and corn production.
It's not just Islamic charities that see the damage being caused by climate change; the Food and Agriculture Organisation has claimed that 80% of the causes of an unpredictable harvest for cereal crops in some African areas are linked to a changing climate. Meanwhile, areas like Bangladesh face different challenges, such as rising sea levels. This leads to the flooding of coastal farmlands, in which rice crops are killed by saltwater.
The difficulties detailed above are relatively consistent; however, the same can’t be said for the solutions. As a result, areas like Southeast Asia and the Horn of Africa require unique methods to help mitigate an existing problem that’s currently set to get worse.
Climate Change Reduces Food Access
Naturally, when climate change is reducing the amount of food being produced, the amount of food that people are able to access is also decreased. That said, supply and demand have huge impacts; just one part of the food system being interrupted inevitably leads to inflation. From this, the poorest members of society are left vulnerable to hunger, with people living under the poverty line spending up to three-quarters of their budget on food alone.
The vast majority of the hungriest countries globally rely on agriculture as their leading industry, meaning that seasonal eating is an absolute must. Consequently, “hungry seasons” take place before harvest, wherein previous food supplies have been used up, and the next crops aren’t yet ready to pick. Typically speaking, families have no choice but to skip one or meals daily, and climate change is only exacerbating hungry seasons in multiple regions.
Climate Change Limits Food’s Nutritional Value
Food quantity isn't solely responsible for malnutrition; the quality of food also plays a significant role. The higher concentration of CO2 caused by climate change may result in a reduction of iron, zinc, and protein content within crops, which will likely lead to both protein and zinc deficiencies. In fact, it’s estimated that 122 million people could develop protein deficiencies by 2050, and a further 175 million could become zinc deficient.
Climate change doesn’t just affect plant-based nutrition; it also disrupts the quality of livestock, which rely on the same resources as humans. As much as 36% of all drought-related losses are made up of livestock, while crops make up 49%. What’s more, fish populations are also threatened by climate extremes, particularly in Southeast Asian regions.
Climate Change Increases Food Waste
Climate change also leads to more food wastage. This is because crops that are grown in high-drought areas are typically moved to humid storage facilities, which places them at risk of pests and fungal infections. Similarly, extreme rainfall can lead to flooding, which produces toxic mould on crops. Since extreme climate events are becoming more and more common, more and more food is being lost annually.
The Food and Agricultural Organisation claims that around one-third of the food produced by farmers is lost between the field and the market. Meanwhile, the food system is responsible for around 21-37% of greenhouse gases, meaning food losses not only contribute to climate change but they have no positive impact on food security.
Hunger Charity in Islam
Orphans in Need works to provide food parcels to the most vulnerable members of society globally to help them build resilience against the interlinked hunger and climate crises. Despite this, your generous donations are required to make this possible. Please donate what you can to help reduce the number of hungry people in the world.