Disasters cost billions in agricultural losses – FAO report

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According to a new report from the United Nations agriculture agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO) , drought, floods, animal disease outbreaks and chemical spills were among the disasters costing farmers in the developing world billions of dollars each year.

The report pointed out that between 2005 and 2015 natural disasters cost the agricultural sectors of developing countries a staggering $96 billion in damaged or lost crop and livestock production, $48 billion of which occurred in Asia.

“The agriculture sectors – which includes crop and livestock production as well as forestry, fisheries and aquaculture – face many risks, such as climate and market volatility, pests and diseases, extreme weather events, and an ever-increasing number of protracted crises and conflicts,” said José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the FAO

According to the 2017 report, FAO has continued to foster a better understanding of how the agriculture sector is affected by disasters.

“Through this 2017 report, FAO refreshes its 2015 conclusions and provides an update on the state of post-disaster agriculture in developing countries. It presents a first-ever, in-depth analysis of disaster impact on the subsectors of fisheries, aquaculture and forestry, which are not always covered by PDNAs; It also reveals an agriculture-specific methodology for evaluating damage and loss from disasters, thereby improving understanding of the wider implications for the economy and livelihoods” , the report stated.

The report also looked at all threats facing agriculture, including food chain crises which were increasingly common and tend to have multipronged impacts on agriculture.

“This has become the ‘new normal,’ and the impact of climate change will further exacerbate these threats and challenges,” Mr. da Silva warned.

The report also detailed how multiple other threats were taking a heavy toll on food production, food security, and people’s livelihoods.

“Disaster risk reduction and management must, therefore, become an integral part of modern agriculture,” stressed the FAO chief.

He added that a more holistic and ambitious disaster-resilience framework for agriculture was crucial to ensuring sustainable development for adaptation to climate change.

 

Peace PIAK