By 2050, the planet will need at least 60 percent more food than it does today, as population is expected to reach more than 9 billion people. But climate change is leading to wild weather patterns, disrupting harvests and increasing pressure on farmers.
A panel of agriculturalists and experts hosted on October 15 agreed that new ways of thinking, planting, and distributing food will be crucial to increase production in an age of uncertainty.
Charles Ogang, president of the Ugandan National Farmers Federation, has seen diseases become more resistant in his country as the climate changes.
He encouraged small growers, who account for more than 80 percent of Uganda’s farmers, to find ways to change. “We have introduced drought resistant maize and it has done well,” he told the panel at Food and Agricultural Organisation’s headquarters in Rome. “The rains we used to expect are no longer there… farmers need to adapt.”
Gordon Bacon, chief executive of Pulse Canada, an industry body, agreed that “disease pressure is constantly changing” and farmers need to plant more drought tolerant crops.
He expressed optimism that farmers and consumers can meet the challenges of climate change, ensuring that global hunger continues to decline. New strains of seeds, coupled with dietary changes are some of the adaptation strategies, he said.
“Can we feed the world? Yes.” Bacon told journalists and fellow farmers. “Will farming look like it does today? No.”