A report released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reveals that natural disasters are taking a heavy toll on poor farmers in developing nations. These farmers do not generally have insurance or the resources to rebuild. An executive summary of the report – entitled The Impact of Natural Hazards and Disasters on Agriculture and Food and Nutrition Security – is available here.
The report found the greatest losses in Asia and Africa; 82% of production losses were due to droughts and floods. The findings are particularly significant because those most affected by natural disasters are small-scale producers in developing nations who account for about half of the world’s total food production. It is estimated that globally, around “2.5 billion small-scale farmers, herders, fishermen and forest communities depend on agriculture to survive.”
“We know we need to increase global food security by 60% … Bearing in mind that around 50% of global food production is produced by these 2.5 billion smallholders, we have a huge challenge ahead of us, and an increasing number of disasters affecting these people,” [Dominique] Burgeon said.
A key finding was that the “agriculture sector – including crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry – absorbs approximately 22 percent of the economic impact caused by medium and large scale natural hazards and disasters in developing countries.”