ROME, Oct 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The way we
produce and eat food must change urgently both to cut the amount
of planet-warming emissions produced by agriculture, and to help
farmers adapt to climate change, the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) said on Monday.
Without swift action, climate change will put millions of
people at risk of hunger and poverty, the U.N. agency said in a
report to mark World Food Day on Oct. 16.
Here are some key facts:
* Agriculture, forestry and changes in land use combined are
the second largest source of greenhouse gases, producing 21
percent of global emissions. The top emitter is the energy
sector at 47 percent.
* To feed a growing global population, agricultural
production must rise by about 60 percent by 2050.
* Climate change is expected to cut harvests in developing
countries in the long term - although it may also improve some
crop yields in the short term.
* If climate change continues unchecked, it will make an
additional 42 million people vulnerable to hunger in 2050,
according to FAO calculations. However, that figure does not
include people affected by extreme weather events such as
drought or floods.
* Small farmers, cattle herders and fishermen are the most
vulnerable to climate change, and will need better access to
technologies, markets, information and credit to adapt to
* Agriculture suffered some 25 percent of the total economic
losses caused by climate-related disasters in developing
countries between 2003 and 2013. For drought-related disasters,
the share rose to 84 percent.
* Livestock alone produces nearly two thirds of agricultural
emissions - mainly from animal burping, manure and feed
production. Synthetic fertilisers are the next major
contributor, producing 12 percent, and rice cultivation 10
* Carbon dioxide emissions from agriculture are mainly
caused by changes in land use, such as converting forests to
pasture or cropland, and land degradation from over-grazing.
* Most direct emissions of methane and nitrous oxide are
caused by livestock flatulence, rice production in flooded
fields and the use of nitrogen fertilisers and manure.
* Nearly 50 percent of world food production depends on
nitrogen fertiliser. The other half depends on nitrogen found in
soil, animal manure, nitrogen-fixing plants, crop residues,
wastes and compost.
* More than a third of food produced worldwide is lost or
wasted. Rotting food produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas
25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
* Deforestation and forest degradation account for about 11
percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, more than the world's
entire transport sector.
* Reducing agriculture emissions depends partly on cutting
food waste and loss, as well as shifting people's diets -
including consuming less animal products - and changing farming
Source: FAO 2016 State of Food and Agriculture report
(Reporting by Alex Whiting, editing by Megan Rowling.; Please
credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of
Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights,
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