Global warming crop harm predicted in Lanka
Agricultural problems caused by global warming in the next two
decades could be most damaging in southern Africa, India, Sri Lanka and
Pakistan, according to researchers who urge action now to avert a wave
Many scientists have predicted that climate change could harm
agriculture in many places, fuelling hunger and malnutrition.
These researchers examined climate predictions and the types of crops
grown in various developing regions to figure out which ones would be
hit hardest by 2030.
Writing on Thursday in the journal Science, the researchers said the
nations of southern Africa — Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi,
Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe —
could lose about 30 percent of their main crop of corn, also known as
Agricultural losses also could be significant in the South Asia
region encompassing India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, with a
drop-off of at least 5 percent in many regional staples, including
millet, maize and rice, the researchers said.
“We still have time to avoid these impacts, but we don’t have much
time,” David Lobell of the Program on Food Security and the Environment
at Stanford University in California, who led the research, said in a
“It’s certainly our hope not to scare people, but to show them that
there is some basis for focusing efforts and trying to get things done
in a relatively speedy time frame,” Lobell added.
The researchers projected how global warming would affect agriculture
in 12 developing regions worldwide, looking at local climate projections
and at the sensitivity of key local crops to warming temperatures and
They determined that average temperatures in most of the regions
could rise by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree C) by 2030.
“We were surprised by how much and how soon these regions could
suffer if we don’t adapt,” Marshall Burke, another Stanford scientist
involved in the study, said in a statement.
Some places could be spared serious problems including China, a
generally cooler region where climate change is not projected to be as
bad for local crops, the researchers said.
Relatively inexpensive adaptations like planting earlier or later in
the season or changing crops could reduce the harm from climate change,
but the biggest benefits probably would stem from more expensive steps
like developing new crop varieties and expanding irrigation, the
“These adaptations will require substantial investments by farmers,
governments, scientists, and development organizations, all of whom face
many other demands on their resources,” the researchers wrote.