Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change to Sustain Food Security

Peter Droogers, J. van Dam, J. Hoogeveen, R. Loeve

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Producing sufficient food to sustain the growing world population is one of the key challenges for now and for the coming decades. According to a study recently presented by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) about 799 million people in the developing world do not have enough to eat and another 41 million in the industrialized countries and countries in transition also suffer from chronic food insecurity (FAO, 2002a). More than half of these undernourished people (60 percent) are found in Asia, while sub-Saharan Africa accounts for almost a quarter (23 percent). In terms of the percentage of undernourished people of the total population, the highest incidence is found in sub-Saharan Africa, where it was estimated that one-third of the population (34 percent) was undernourished in 1997-99. Sub-Saharan Africa is followed by South Asia, where 24 percent of the population is undernourished (Figure 3.1). However, significant progress has been made over the last two decades: the incidence of undernourishment in the developing countries has decreased from 29 percent in 1979-81 to 17 percent in 1997-99.

The World Bank estimates of the prevalence of extreme poverty are based on the distribution of household expenditure on consumables (Chen and Ravallion, 2000), while the FAO estimates are based on the on the distribution of household food consumption and availability. World Bank indices indicate in general higher undernourishment than FAO ones (Figure 3.1), but there is a positive and close relationship between food consumption and expenditure on consumables in low-income households.

Vörösmarty et al. (2000) argue that the impact of climate change on water and food will be relatively small in comparison to the impact of changes in population and socio-economic projections. However, changes in population and socio-economic issues are gradually and therefore easier to cope with. Climate change includes such a gradual change as well, but is expected to increase extremes substantially.

This chapter will concentrate on climate changes impacts on food and water issues. An overview of global issues and trends will be followed by a more in-depth analysis of field scale impact and adaptation strategies for the seven basins in the ADAPT context. The field scale is of paramount importance as this is the scale at which food is actually produced.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Change in Contrasting River Basins
Subtitle of host publicationAdaptation strategies for Water, Food and Environment
PublisherCABI Publishing
ISBN (Print)0 85199 835 6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


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