Climate change and hunger as the challenges in the global food system

Ana Florencia Stoddart


In the last decades, there has been a growing tendency towards international trade and globalisation, particularly leading to a significant increase in flows of agricultural commodities worldwide. From a macroeconomic perspective, the commodity projections are more optimistic than the previous years and the long run tendency shows an increasing demand for feedstock. However, the strong shifts of shocks and fluctuations (in terms of prices and volumes) are a concern to global food security, with the number of hungry people rising to nearly one billion.

Agriculture is a main user of natural resources, and it has a strong link with rural societies and the environment. Forecasted impacts from climate change, limited productive endorsements and emerging rivals on crop production, such bio-energy, aggravate the panorama on food scarcity. In this context, it is a great challenge on farming and food systems to reduce global hunger and produce in sustainable ways adequate supplies for food, feed, and non-food uses.

The main objective of this work is to question the sustainability of food and agriculture systems. It is particularly interesting to know its role and if it will be able to respond to a growing population with increasing food demand in a world where pressure on land, water and other natural resources are already evident, and, moreover, climate change will also condition and impact the outcome. Furthermore, a deeper focus will be set on developing countries, which are expected to emerge and take a leading role in the international arena.  This short paper is structured as follows: Section I, “Introduction”, describes the social situation regarding hunger, Section II, “Global Context”, attempts to summarise the current scenario in the international trading scheme and present the emerging rivals for primary resources, and in Section III, “Climate Change”, presents an overview of possible changes in the sector and future perspectives in the field. Finally, in Section IV, “Conclusion”, the main conclusions are presented.

Keywords: International Trade, Climate Change,Hunger, Agriculture Systems

Received 25 June 2012; accepted 25 April 2013


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