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‘Climate change is a fundamental threat to food security’


October 17, 2016 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

While addressing the press on this year’s World Food Day, Country Representative of the Food and Agricultural Organization, Madam Nyabenyi Tipo observed that climate change has become a threat to global food security and that it was undermining crop yield in many parts of the world including Sierra Leone.

Rising temperatures, change in rainfall patterns, and extreme weather events are affecting our ability to produce the food we need. The world’s poorest people and countries are particularly hard hit. They depend on smallholder agriculture to provide income and food,” she said.

Each year, the FAO celebrates the world Food Day on October 16 in commemoration of the founding of the organization in 1945. The theme for this year’s celebration was “Climate is changing, food and agriculture must too.”

The FAO Country Representative said the 2016 World Food Day  marked the 71st anniversary of the founding of the organization ,and that this year’s celebration was not a day of reflection but a day of action ,urging that countries should address climate change  to eradicate hunger by 2030.

“The threat of climate change continues to mount every single day. Global average temperatures are increasing and new records are registered almost every year,” she said.

Madam Tipo noted that NASA report indicated that the first six months of 2016 was the warmest six-month period recorded since 1880.

“With higher temperatures, come more extreme weather events. Storms, droughts, heavy rainfall, heatwavers and forest fires have steadily increased in frequency and intensity,” she said.

She continued that the impact assessment of September 16, 2015 flood in Sierra Leone revealed that thousands of hectares of land were destroyed, thus depleting crop yield for 1,781 households.

“If we fail to act now, climate change extreme events like the floods we experienced in 2015 could become the new normal as we also experienced another this year-although it was not as severe as the previous,” madam Tipo said, adding that the FAO in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture Food and Security spent USD$500,000 to support the affected households in four districts.

She maintained that efforts to address climate change were on course as countries across the world met COP21 in Paris France to finalize agreement on climate change.

She said the meeting provided the framework needed to respond to climate change that the international community would focus on its implementation.

She maintained that the need to communicate how to mitigate and to adapt to climate change and encouraged investment in sustainable agriculture was of immense importance.

Chief Agriculture Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Francis Sancoh said they attached great importance to the day and that they usually used it to deliver policy statement and reflect on the progress made in the agriculture sector.

He the ministry has a very cordial relationship with the Food and Agriculture Organization.

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