Global Warming & Food Insecurity

Here’s a research report that examines the effect that global warming is having on food production in southern Africa, and suggests policies that could alleviate the problem.  I’m including this as a blog for two reasons:


  1. Whenever, in our own research, we identify coming trends, they have a tendency to happen more quickly than the experts forecasted; and


  1. We live in a global economy. If a problem happens in some remote region, it now seems to invariably spread to wherever we are.


The global warming deniers are diminishing, as solid evidence of global warming has been even stronger than what was forecast, and has been happening even more quickly than was forecast.  For example, rivers in North America – as well as giant reservoirs – are already drying up.  And crop failures are already increasing. What do we need to do, living in our world where supermarkets are still loaded with foods?  Comments afterwards.


o        o        o        o        o        o


‘Climate smart’ policies could increase

southern Africa’s crops by up to 500%


Researchers outline urgent steps to improve food security in

the face of increasing natural disasters caused by the climate crisis


Kaamil Ahmed

The Guardian

Thu 24 Mar 2022


The climate crisis is threatening food stocks in sub-Saharan Africa, but a comprehensive approach to food, farming and resources could increase crop production by more than 500% in some countries in the region, according to new research by more than 200 experts.

There is no single technological fix to the threat posed by the barrage of natural disasters striking the region, they said, but significant improvements could be achieved with new approaches, based on modelling done by the network of researchers in Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia.

Sithembile Mwamakamba, director of policy research and analysis at the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, a pan-African organization, said …


“The climate change crisis is accelerating.


“We are seeing more floods, droughts, pests

and diseases, especially in the southern

Africa region. We are seeing this become

more frequent and more severe. If urgent

action is not taken to make agriculture in

the region more resilient to climate impacts,

our food systems will definitely fail us and

push our rural communities to the edge.”


Mwamakamba said “climate smart” policies need to cut across sectors to be effective, recognising that the climate crisis can affect agriculture, health, nutrition and security.

The researchers produced a tool that quantified crop yields, land and water use as well as greenhouse gas emissions and nutrition to model the effects of the changing climate and how policies could have an impact.

There had been successful trials of agricultural methods such as terracing, said researchers, as a way to improve soil health and water availability. The report added that developing new crop varieties was crucial to cope with extreme temperatures and rainfall.

It also warned that policies developed in isolation could lead to conflicts. For example, the expansion of agricultural land to increase production could cause tensions over land and water usage.

According to the research, Malawi’s crucial maize yields could fall by a fifth by 2050 without action, but with a coordinated approach to technology, agriculture, infrastructure and food security, its production could increase by more than 700%.

Tanzania had the potential for a 17-fold increase in crop production.

The four-year research project was produced by a partnership of organisations based in the countries studied and the UK.

Prof Tim Benton, co-principal investigator of the research, said the findings could be crucial for governments.


“This research gives governments

some of the information and evidence

they need to get ahead of climate im-

pacts by implementing reforms that

enhance resilience, boost nutritional

outcomes, and enhance livelihoods.”


o        o        o        o        o        o


Actions for alleviating potential food shortages must be taken far in advance of such an event, because you can’t suddenly grow crops when the stores run out of food.  What actions can you take that do not, in any way, diminish your current quality-of-life experience?


  • Start conserving water. Global warming does cause greater evaporation, and thus more rain.  But as the patterns are shifting, some regions now have less water – the U.S. southwest, and southern Africa – while other regions – Pakistan and Mississippi – are flooding.  If you are in a region with diminishing rainfall, start storing rainwater – in rain-barrels or cisterns.  Nature provides rainwater when it wishes; we need storage, to be able to use that rainwater when we wish.


  • Eliminate overly water-consuming features of your home and site. Replace grass lawns with plantings that don’t require you to add water.  Mowed lawns are nice … if you need an outdoor carpet for recreational purposes.  I cover the ground in front of my home with golden-tipped junipers; no fertilizing or watering needed, and weeding & pruning only about once a year.  The aesthetic quality is richer; maintenance is a fraction of the effort; water use is eliminated.


  • For ensuring your own survival, identify one or more local organic farms. You can meet farmers at farmers’ markets, or even contact them online.  Our local fish & chips restaurant is now paying huge amounts for potatoes – after searching for anyone who had some to sell! You may need a nearby food source, or even grow some yourself.


Those are “the usual” basics.  But they’re more than thoughts.  They’re things we each need to do.



Comments are closed.