ROME, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Monday that should climate impact food production, access and distribution it could become a major threat to world food security.
Abnormal changes in air temperature and rainfall and the increasing frequency and intensity of drought and floods have long-term implications for the viability and productivity of worldagro-ecosystems, said FAO Assistant Director General Alexander Muller.
He made the remarks during a FAO workshop on "Adaptation Planning and Strategies", attended by more than 140 experts in Rome.
Muller said it is crucial to take immediate action to cope with the effects of climate change while continuing to deal with the causes by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Ways must be found to build up people's resilience as well as that of food production systems, he added.
Muller noted that agriculture is the sector most affected by climate change, which makes the developing countries especially atrisk, because they are highly dependent on agriculture and have fewer resources and options to combat damage from climate change.
However, agriculture is both culprit and victim of climate change, Muller said. It is estimated that the livestock sector alone accounts for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while deforestation is responsible for 18 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, he said.
Introducing improved livestock management and crop practices, coupled with adaptive management of forests, could have a very significant impact. Adopting land use practices such as conservation agriculture would also help to maintain significant amounts of carbon in the soil.
Muller said rice production is another major source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for some 50 to 100 million metric tons of anthropogenic methane per year. On the other hand, the extreme weather conditions caused by climate change can reducerice crop production, which feeds more than half the world's population.
FAO recommends to introduce improved rice varieties with greater salinity tolerance, which have successfully expedited the recovery of production in areas damaged by the 2004 Asian tsunami.