WASHINGTON, D.C. (4 December 2006) -- In reporting new forecasts of the devastating impact of climate change on food production in some of the globes poorest regions, the worlds largest alliance of international agricultural research centers today announced it is embarking on a new effort to intensify and streamline research to reduce developing countries vulnerability to climate change caused by global warming.
The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) (www.cgiar.org), in consultation with the global environmental change science community, is refining a comprehensive climate change agenda that is already generating climate-resilient innovations, including crops bred to withstand heat, salt, submergence or waterlogging, and drought, and more efficient farming techniques to help poor farmers better use increasingly scarce water and fragile soil. Researchers are also focusing on boosting agricultures role in reducing climate-altering greenhouse gases. (See attached descriptions of new crops and approaches.)
"The impacts of climate change on agriculture will add significantly to the development challenges of reducing poverty and ensuring sufficient food production for a growing population," said Dr. Robert S. Zeigler, Director General of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a CGIAR-supported research center. "The livelihoods of billions of people in developing countries, particularly those in the tropics, will be severely challenged as crop yields decline due to shorter growing seasons."
"Anticipating and planning for climate change is imperative if farmers in poor countries are to avert forecast declines in yields of the worlds most important food crops," said Dr. Louis V. Verchot, a climate change scientist with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), a CGIAR-supported research center. "Yet, adaptation is not a substitute for reducing new and removing