Agriculture, Food Security, and Climate Change: 12 Things to Know

Article | 5 October 2015

As ADB’s developing member countries continue to evolve from low-income to middle-income countries, enhancing food security for their populations is one of the means to achieve the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

  1. The world, and Asia, is currently passing through a difficult period of concern about the future sustainability of food supplies.
    Source: Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, United Nations. 2015. World Population Prospects
  2. Of the world’s 805 million people chronically undernourished in 2012–2014, two-thirds (526 million people, or 12% of the region’s population) reside in developing countries in Asia.
    Source: FAO, IFAD, and WFP. 2014. The State of Food Insecurity in the World
  3. To satisfy added consumer demand, the world will need 70% more food, as measured by calories, by 2050.
    Source: World Resources Institute. 2014. Creating a Sustainable Food Future: Interim Findings
  4. Forest degradation, land-based pollution, soil nutrient degradation, and soil salinization, create a widening gap between demand for natural resources for food production and the environment’s ability to provide and replenish those resources.
    Source: ADB. 2013. Environment Operational Directions 2013–2020
  5. Developing countries in Asia and the Pacific are likely to face the highest reductions in agricultural potential in the world due to climate change.
    Source: Agriculture and Food Security Issues in Asia and the Pacific
  6. By 2050, the expected yield reduction for irrigated paddy is in the range of 14–20%; for irrigated wheat, 32-44%; irrigated maize, 2–5%; and irrigated soybean, 9–18%.
    Source: ADB and IFPRI. 2009. Building Climate Resilience in the Agriculture Sector of Asia and the Pacific
  7. Rice prices are projected to be 29–37% higher in 2050 compared to a no-climate change case, wheat prices to be 81–102% higher, maize prices to rise 58–97%, and soybean prices to increase 14–49%.
    Source: ADB and IFPRI. 2009. Building Climate Resilience in the Agriculture Sector of Asia and the Pacific
  8. All crop species and varieties are likely to experience yield declines with local warming of more than 3°C.
    Source: Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers. 2014. Summary of Findings of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  9. Gene banks and breeding of heat-tolerant and drought-tolerant varieties are priorities for adaptation investments. Other adaptations with demonstrable benefits include water harvesting, storage and efficiency measures, and diversification of on-farm and off-farm activities to reduce exposure to climate risks.
    Source: Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers. 2014. Summary of Findings of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  10. Productive public sector investments in agriculture, natural resources, and rural development, including research, coupled with an enabling policy environment, make food more available and affordable to both rural and urban poor consumers.
    Source: United Nations University. 2010. The (Evolving) Role of Agriculture in Poverty Reduction
  11. ADB’s Operational Plan for Agriculture and Natural Resources: Promoting Sustainable Food Security in Asia and the Pacific in 2015–2020 provides guidance for ADB operations in increasing its emphasis on food security and agriculture productivity and focuses in: (i) increasing the productivity and reducing pre- and postharvest losses of food harvest; (ii) improving market connectivity and value chain linkages; (iii) enhancing food safety, quality, and nutrition; and (iv) enhancing management and climate resilience of natural resources.
    Source: ADB. 2015. The Operational Plan for Agriculture and Natural Resources
  12. As ADB’s developing member countries continue to evolve from low-income to middle-income countries, enhancing food security for their populations is one of the principal means of achieving and sustaining poverty reduction and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals agenda.