Tuesday, December 2, 2008

FAO: Climate change to hit Pacific region food security

FAO: Climate change to hit Pacific region food security

WELLINGTON, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said that ocean warming, frequent tropical cyclones, floods and droughts are likely to have a devastating impact on food security in Pacific island countries, according to the local media on Wednesday.

FAO's report on climate change and food security in the Pacific islands region came as delegates from 187 countries meet in Poland for U.N. talks aiming to move closer to a deal on new climate treaty in 2009 to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

FAO's joint report with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program and the University of the South Pacific was published on its website www.fao.org.

A devastating mixture of droughts and floods would bring water stress, more pests and weeds, erosion and loss of soil fertility to the region's agriculture which depends heavily on summer rains, said the report.

Expected increases in sea water temperature, coastal inundation, salinization and erosion of soil would cut the size of productive agricultural land and hit fishery, threatening local food security, the report said.

Fish consumption in Pacific island countries is very high, with an average of 70 kg per person per year, and fish exports account for as much as 70 percent of total exports in some countries, it added.

Pacific island countries which have been relying too heavily on external resources in dealing with climate change should work out their national policies with programs and budgets for sustainable development, according to the report.

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