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Philippines risks huge agri losses over climate change

Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star) - October 3, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Climate change has devastating effects on crop growth, posing a threat to food security and human security, according to a food production expert.

Dr. Mark W. Rosegrant, director of the Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), said the estimated losses from climate change could reach P71 billion annually.

Of the total estimated loss, P45 billion covers losses from increased malnutrition due to production and higher food prices and P26 billion in economic losses.

“Climate change reduces crop productivity growth leading to increases in foodprocess, and reduces food security,” Rosegrant said.

From a baseline of three million malnourished children in 2010, the figure is projected to grow by an additional 2.7 million by 2030, and another 2.21 million by 2050.

The number of people at risk of hunger is seen to add 1.4 million by 2030 and another 2.5 million by 2050.

Rosegrant said higher commodity prices give producers better incentive to grow more crops, especially export crops, which could lead to higher agricultural gross domestic product.

The downside risk, however, is that a higher commodity price reduces direct consumption.

“It causes trade loss and lower real exchange rate, thus reducing industrial and service sector output,” he said.

In order to cope with the ill-effects of climate change, Rosegrant said the government must increase rice and other crop productivity growth.

He said the government must also reduce expenditures on rice market interventions and support agricultural research and rural infrastructure.

Apart from this, the government must invest in real-time weather information systems and improve agricultural extension employing innovative methods.

ACIRC AGRICULTURAL CHANGE CLIMATE DR. MARK W ENVIRONMENT AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY DIVISION FOOD HIGHER INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE MILLION ROSEGRANT
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