Recent research from a team of US scientists studying rice yields across six major rice exporting regions in Asia found that rising night-time temperatures have caused rice production to decline by 10 to 20% over the past 25 years. This temperature effect has overshadowed improvements in growing techniques that would otherwise lead to higher yields.
In a related Philippine study, rice yields were found to drop by 10% for every 1 degree Celsius rise in night-time temperature. More recently, farmers in some parts of India are facing too much water due to flooding, while others are experiencing droughts, and many have not planted even half of what would normally be needed out of fear that there will not be enough water to grow the rice.
Mohammed Ansari, Farmer (in Hindi): Even if it starts to rain now, we will not get any crop. There is a deadline for the rice to start growing – that is till the middle of August. And that time has now passed. So we will not have any crop this year.
Jugari Paswan, Indian labourer (e): We are poor people and are desperate for food to eat. Our children go to sleep hungry. What can we do?
Rita, Indian villager (F): My hungry child cries all the time, there is no food to feed him. How can we survive like this?
And this summer’s extreme weather in Russia as well as Ukraine, which has been attributed to climate change, has led the governments to decrease forecasted wheat yields and place a ban on exports.
This in turn has even affected other grains such as barley, which has doubled in price in the last six weeks due to a combination of lower wheat yields in Russia and reduced barley yields in Europe and Canada due to unfavorable weather.
With prolonged drought and hunger being endured by millions in countries such as Africa, the scientists warn that these declines are just some of the indications of an emerging global food crisis as extreme conditions continue due to unchecked climate change.
We thank the scientists for these factual insights into the current and ongoing threats to food security due to global warming. Let us all quickly shift to lifestyles that complement the balance of nature for the sustenance and survival of all people on the planet.
Speaking with concern for the welfare of people across the globe, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the matter of food shortages as well as the most efficient solution during an April 2009 videoconference in South Korea.