Food production sectors are significant contributors to climate change - Agri SA

Agriculture and food production contribute immensely to climate change, according to Agri SA

Agriculture and food production contribute immensely to climate change, according to Agri SA

Published Apr 24, 2024


AgriCulture South Africa (AgriSA) yesterday said agriculture and food production sectors were significant contributors to climate change.

The federation of agricultural organisations said this came in the form of land use change, the intensive use of water, loss of biodiversity and carbon dioxide emissions.

Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence for Natural Resources, however, said the two sectors also stood to be the most severely affected by the consequences of climate change in the form of more frequent extreme weather events - including drought, fires, extreme heat, storms, and flooding - and pest and disease outbreaks, amongst others.

“Climate Smart Agriculture encompasses a range of farming practices by which agriculture can both mitigate (i.e. address the causes of its contribution to climate change) and adapt to (i.e. respond to the effects of climate change),” it said.

According to the South African Weather Services’ Annual State of the Climate of South Africa 2023, this country experienced a relatively warm year, especially in the central and northern interior.

In the south, however, temperatures were near-normal.

“The annual mean temperature anomaly for 2023, based on the data of 20 climate stations, was on average about 0.4 ºC above the average of the reference period (1991-2020), making it approximately the 8th hottest year on record since 1951,” states the report.

“A warming trend of approximately 0.17 ºC per decade is indicated for the country, over the period 1951-2023, statistically significant at the 5% level.”

Meanwhile, Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence for Natural Resources said other terms related to CSA included conservation agriculture, which is aimed at achieving sustainable and profitable agriculture.

According to Agri SA, climate change referred to gradual shifts in temperatures and weather patterns over a long period of time. It said climate shifts could be natural, for example, due to changes in the sun’s activity or large volcanic eruptions.

“However, since the industrial revolution in the late 1700s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels in the form of coal, oil and gas and the destruction of natural habitats and their ecological systems.”