Central America: One degree rise means disaster for one million farmers

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“Even with our most conservative estimates, it’s clear that climate change could transform the agricultural landscape across Central America”

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Higher temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns threaten the livelihoods of one million maize and bean farmers in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, according to a report that for the first time takes a specific look at the impact of climate change on a local level.

“Even with our most conservative estimates, it’s clear that climate change could transform the agricultural landscape across Central America,” said Anton Eitzinger, a climate scientist at International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and lead author of the report. “Conditions are already tough there; it’s one of the poorest and most vulnerable parts of Latin America.”

Tortillas on the Roaster (PDF) shows that an expected average temperature increase of around 1 degree Celsius by 2020 will severely affect maize, exacerbating water shortages and causing the plants to suffer from heat stress. Large swaths of the current maize-growing area could become unsuitable for the crop, resulting in economic losses to the region as a whole of around US$100 million per year.

For beans, there is a serious threat of reduced rains during the planting season in September, with higher temperatures affecting flowering and seed production, which could reduce yields in all four countries by as much as 25 percent. The report estimates maize and bean production losses at about US$20 million per year by  2020.

Overall, about one million smallholder farmers and their families face substantial declines in crops, income and nutrition. Many will likely lose their land entirely.

  • Report: “Tortillas on a roaster” (PDF).
  • Press Release (PDF)

1 Comment

  • and after all: “one degree rise” is not just one degree plus, it is definitely NOT just 1 deg “warmer” or 1 deg “more comfortable” …
    THAT is how earth warming looks alike, since even a just warmer surface “allows” more activity to the Earth’s surface (quakes, volcano activity etc.)
    a Temperature rise means/is an ENERGY rise (E=kT) ===> and that means more storms, hurricans, typhoons, rain/flood catastrophes, BUT AS WELL more DROUGHTs (between the rain/flood events) …
    Fukushima was 2x manmade:
    1x the energy input (which reaches meanwhile approx. the PERCENT range of the sun’s (!!) energy input to our planet) http://fuwtelekollegsozialwissenschaften.wordpress.com/#footer 
    1x the incrediple stupidity of “using” Nuclear Energy (its a thermal energy as well, 70% go to the air/water/atmosphere, only 30% “become” Electricity …) and provoking dozens of INES-5 (or worse) events meanwhile: just have a look at
    (who knows about Sellafield, Harrisburg nowadays? Tchernobyl perhaps? Fukushima probably, but Forsmark/Sweden — a Fukushima meltdown was avoided by 20 minutes and incredible good luck — is hardly known because it is not communicated in most mass media)
    and http://www.atomunfall.de/atomunfaelle-1950-1959.shtml for example …
    and Monsanto is not the only danger to farmers and food: “industry” (just by its Energy Consumption, not to speak about chemical and waste/poison problems like Seveso or Bhopal) contributes
    1/4 (“directly” by its exhausts & outputs)
    1/4 (by “its” power plants, half the Energy of which is “used” by Industries)
    1/8 (by “its” commercial Traffic/Transportation)
    = 5/8 = over 60% of worldwide Earth Warming …
    (the most of which happens in “our” USA/NorthAmerica, EU, Japan/SouthKorea & China:
    price REDUCTIONS of Energy Supply for INDUSTRIES have * no * right * of * existence * at * all * and instead of “cheap & secure” Energy from Iraq, Saudi Arabia & Co it would be better to cash DOUBLE and TRIPLE energy prices from Industries to enforce reasonable energy use & products …)
    (this is not condemning your car nor your beer in the fridge: only 1/3 of all the bull (beep) is due to private households: just the more “we” are “hardworking”, the more “we” help to destroy the world)