Study says heat threatens 71 percent of food production by 2045 | environment

Rising heat waves from climate change could put the agricultural sector at “extreme risk” by 2045, according to an analysis by British risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft. Heat waves will affect about 60 countries that collectively account for nearly three-quarters of food production.

“Heat stress,” a combination of temperature levels and the difficulty of working outdoors in certain weather conditions, already poses a “severe risk” in 20 countries. This includes India, the world’s agricultural giant.

Future projections, based on a scenario of a warming of 2°C compared to the pre-industrial era, indicate that by 2045, about 64 countries (representing 71 percent of global food production) will be affected by this “extreme risk”.

Among these are major agricultural producers, including India, China, Brazil and the United States. “With global warming and heat stress, we will see production hit in more temperate countries,” said Will Nichols, director of climate at Verisk Maplecroft.


“There is a real fear that people in rural areas, which rely heavily on agriculture, will be more vulnerable to these heat peaks in the future,” Nichols told AFP. In projections to 2045, nine of the ten countries most at risk are in Africa, including Ghana, the world’s second largest cocoa producer.

The 20 countries most at risk also include major Asian rice producers, such as Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The authors noted that in the latter country, many farmers are already working in rice fields at night to avoid excessive heat.

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In high-risk countries such as the United States or China, regions are affected differently. Seven European countries are also among the ten with the largest relative increase in risk by 2045.

Denton Watson

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