Crops yields around the world could fall within a decade unless action is taken to speed up the introduction of new varieties. A study says temperatures are rising faster than the development of crop varieties that can cope with a warmer world.
Crops yields around could fall a decade unless action is taken to speed up the introduction varieties
Crops yields around the world could fall within a decade unless action is taken to speed up the introduction of new varieties.
By the time these new crops are planted, they face a warmer environment than they were developed in.
The scientists behind the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, looked closely at the impact of temperature rises on crop duration - that's the length of time between planting and harvesting.
They found that in a warmer world durations will be shorter meaning these varieties will have less time to accumulate biomass and yields could be affected.
The researchers believe that the study also has implications beyond Africa
We can use the climate models to tell us what the temperatures are going to be, he told BBC News,
We can then put those temperature elevations into the greenhouses and then we can breed the crops at those temperatures.
People are beginning to do this, but this paper provides the hard evidence of the necessity of it.
Researchers are also working on the impact of heat stress on crops at sites in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Ethiopia. Data from these trials is being used to identify species that could cope with warmer conditions.
Better techniques and more money for research are the keys according to others in this field, familiar with the study.
Investment in agricultural research to develop and disseminate new seed technologies is one of the best investments we can make for climate adaptation, said Dr Andy Jarvis, from the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture,
Climate funds could be used to help the world's farmers stay several steps ahead of climate change, with major benefits for global food security.
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