El Niño Impact, La Niña Preparation

El Niño Impact, La Niña Preparation

Weather patterns affecting crop growth. Weather patterns affecting crop growth.

July 8, 2016

More than 60 million people worldwide are projected to be food insecure due to the impact of El Niño. The United Nations estimates that number could top 100 million with the development of a La Niña climate event. In the wake of El Niño, the world must prepare for the opposite climate phenomenon. 

Petteri Taalas, the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, explained the situation. "We expect to see changes in global rain patterns: at the high latitudes it will rain more, and in many important ag areas it will rain less. There are various areas which are important for global food security that are at risk." 

Small-scale farmers in rural areas are vulnerable to these extreme weather events and depend on the weather to grow their livelihoods.

This weather pattern is not only affecting American farmers, but also farmers overseas. Vietnam is facing its worst drought in over 60 years and over half of the country's rice harvest is ruined. Nearly 80% of the almost four billion dollars required to meet the needs in El Niño affected countries are for food security and ag needs.

Ertharin Cousin, the World Food Program Executive Director, said, "As farms fail, work opportunities dry up and access to any available nutritious food becomes increasingly out of reach, particularly for poor and marginalized people."

The FAO and other world agencies are coordinating efforts to ensure that farmers have the tools they need for success in upcoming planting seasons.

José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General, explained, "Together we can make a difference if we work in a coordinated manner – and we need to do it, because of the impacts we are seeing of climate change. I think that El Niño last year and this year is the beginning of what we will see as the coming impacts of a changing climate."

Current assistance includes distribution of livestock feed and vaccinations, drought-tolerant grains, and sustainable water techniques to the most heavily impacted areas.               

Read more HERE.

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