Feeding people in today’s world is already a considerable challenge. According to scientists, two-degree Celsius temperature increase could have a devastating effect on global food production. And concern is now growing that climate change and climate variability will compound the challenges facing the world’s poor, particularly those in vulnerable areas.
Essentially, the geography of agriculture is likely to change significantly due to climate change. Where you grow some crops today may not be the same areas in the future. In temperate regions like the Andes in Latin America, climate change means that crops will move up to higher and cooler elevations. In Africa, climate change could trigger massive human migration from areas that have turned from breadbaskets to dust bowls.
To illustrate the impact of a 2-degree temperature change, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), in collaboration with CCAFS, documented the impact of a two-degree rise on coffee production in Colombian Andes, a crucial cash crop for small-scale Andean farmers who supply the multi-billion dollar gourmet coffee market.
The Ghana case study highlights the displacement of African farmers who will be forced to abandon semi-arid, dry areas that can no longer support food production.
While decision makers in Cancun negotiate the latest high-level climate deals, the stories and testimonies featured in Two Degrees Up give a glimpse of what life is like on the ground, and emphasize the importance of finding sustainable, scientific solutions to enable small farmers around the world to adapt to the challenge of climate change.
Two Degrees Up is a joint production of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Programme of the CGIAR-ESSP. The stories are produced by Neil Palmer, CIAT, who also took the photos.