LEEDS, England, Oct. 7 (UPI) — Large-scale crop failures like that which caused the recent Russian wheat crisis are likely to become more common with climate change, a British study shows.
However, researchers at the University of Leeds say improved farming and the development of new crops could lessen the worst impacts of these events on world agriculture, a university release said.
A summer of drought and wildfires dramatically hit harvests across Russia this year, leading the government to institute a ban on wheat exports. But the authors of the new study argue that adaptation to climate change is possible through a combination of new crops that are more tolerant to heat and water stress, and by changes in farming practices and investment.
“Due to the importance of international trade, crop failure is an issue that affects everyone on the planet, not just those in crop-growing regions,” Andy Challinor from the University of Leeds School of Earth and Environment said.
“More extreme weather events are expected to occur in the coming years due to climate change and we have shown that these events are likely to lead to more crop failures,” he said.
“It is highly unlikely that we will find a single intervention that is a ‘silver bullet’ for protecting crops from failure,” Challinor said. “What we need is an approach that combines building up crop tolerance to heath and water stress with socio-economic interventions.”
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