BALI, Indonesia, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The world's
largest alliance of agricultural research centers called on Saturday the
international community to step up investment in global climate change research
on food crops for poor countries.
"We are increasingly alarmed that if we don't move
quickly to give farmers in the developing world the tools they need to deal with
climate change, we could see food production in places like sub-Saharan Africa
and South Asia collapse before the end of the century," said Katherine Sierra,
World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development and the Consultative Group
for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in a press release on Saturday.
Sierra's call for stepping up research that would
help developing countries adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change
was made in Bali, a resort island of Indonesia, which is hosting a two-week U.N.
climate change conference aimed at combating global warming.
"I urge donors and research centers around the world
to join us in investing in solutions to climate change," said Sierra.
"This is an auspicious moment in the history of
agriculture research because farmers already are under considerable pressure to
increase production just to meet the food demands of a growing population," said
"If there ever was a time for scientists to step up
and innovate, it is now," said Sierra.
The group warned that farmers in poor nations could
face a global disaster of unprecedented proportions without the commitment of
the international community.
At a meeting just concluded this week in Beijing,
leaders of the 15 centers of the CGIAR that span the globe have set forth a
policy to seek funding to double its current investment in "climate-ready crops"
and better land management.
Recent research efforts have made it clear that the
widely anticipated increase in extreme weather events -- more drought and
flooding, higher temperatures all around the world -- and a likely increase in
plant pests and diseases ushered in by these changes, are going to hit poor
countries particularly hard.
The Nobel-prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) said in its earlier reports this year that rising
temperatures and changing rainfall patterns could cause agriculture production
to drop by as much as 50 percent in many African countries and by 30 percent in
Central and South Asia.
IPCC predicted that unless scientists come up with
hardier varieties, wheat production could disappear entirely from Africa by 2080
and maize production could drop precipitously.
Established in 1971, CGIAR is a strategic partnership
of countries, international and regional organizations and private foundations
supporting the work of 15 international agricultural research centers.