As exceptionally heavy rains continued to cut a wide swath of ruin across
northern India, a top United Nations official warned today that climate change
could destroy vast swaths of farmland in this country, ultimately affecting food
production and adding to the woes of already desperate peasants who live off of
Even a small increase in temperatures, said Jacques Diouf, head of the Food and
Agricultural Organization, could push down crop yields in the south around the
world, even as agricultural productivity goes up in northern climes, including
Europe. A greater frequency of droughts and floods, one of the hallmarks of
climate change, the agency added, could be particularly bad for agriculture.
“Rain-fed agriculture in marginal areas in semi-arid and sub-humid regions is
mostly at risk,” Dr. Diouf explained. “India could lose 125 million tons of its
rain-fed cereal production — equivalent to 18 percent of its total production.”
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