Climate change threatening global food supplies, warns Christian Aid

(Photo: Unsplash/Raphael Rychetsky)

A Christian aid organisation has warned that the impacts of climate change across the developing world may soon be felt in the grocery baskets of shoppers in European countries, including the UK.

According to research from Christian Aid, products such as bananas, grapes, avocados, coffee and tea are just some of the groceries most threatened by the growing climate crisis, but up to a quarter of fruit, vegetables, pulses, and meat products on the shelves of European nations come from vulnerable countries.

“The UK may be an island but in an ever more interconnected world we cannot escape the damage caused by climate change,” Patrick Watt, Christian Aid’s Chief Executive, said.

“The climate crisis is increasingly disrupting the supply chains of the food in British shopping baskets and risks adding to the cost-of-living crisis. The case for action has never been clearer.

“The UK government must work with others to provide the financial support needed to help vulnerable communities adapt to a fast-changing climate.”

Joining with an alliance of experts and charities that includes Green Alliance and the Fairtrade Foundation, Christian Aid called on the world’s richest nations to fulfil their pledge to deliver $100bn in climate finance to help farmers in developing countries adapt to a changing climate.

Climate change experts have warned that unless action is taken to address the climate crisis, the world will continue to see more harvest-destroying extreme weather events, disrupting supply chains and leading to further price rises — and even empty shelves.

The UK government’s five-year adaptation plan has acknowledged that the impact of climate change on food supplies poses a threat to national security. Farmers’ groups have also expressed their concern over the growing problems starting to hit closer to home.

“I have never known such volatility in the global food system,” National Farmers Union President, Minette Batters, commented last month.

“Climate change is wreaking havoc on food production across the world, with farmers in Southern Europe literally fighting fires while farmers here are despairing as they now must spend thousands of pounds to dry sodden grain.”

However, it is still those in less developed countries being disproportionately affected by climate change, with fewer resources to call on to help adapt to changing conditions that include droughts, storms, and rising temperatures. In addition, they are facing other threats to their sustainability, such as desertification and violent conflicts.

“This is an important and timely report from Christian Aid, drawing the connection between the threat that climate change poses to the livelihoods of farmers, and the food we eat in the UK,” said Alexander Carnwath, Fairtrade Foundation’s Head of Public Affairs.

“And richer, higher polluting nations must honour their commitments to provide climate finance to poorer countries, with a particular focus on the needs of smallholder farmers.”


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