Climate change will put nearly 23% more Indians at risk of hunger by 2030 due to fall in agricultural production and disruption in food supply chains, according to a study released by the International Food Policy Research Institute on Thursday.
The Global Food Policy Report 2022 showed that without climate change, 7.39 crore Indians would have suffered due to hunger by 2030. However, researchers found that 9.06 crore citizens (22.69% more) will be at risk if climate change is taken into account.
India’s aggregate food production index in 2030 will also fall from 1.627 in normal circumstances, to 1.549 due to the impact of climate change on agricultural yields, the report predicted.
The projections have been made under a model called IMPACT, which simulates national and international agricultural markets by surveying economic, water, and crop models across the world.
“Higher temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, sea level rise, and growing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, extreme heat, and cyclones are already reducing agricultural productivity, disrupting food supply chains, and displacing communities,” the report noted.
It predicted that average temperature across India will rise in the range of 2.4 degrees Celsius to 4.4 degrees Celsius by 2100 and heatwaves during the summer season are projected to triple by that year.
The report noted that global food production will grow by about 60% by 2050, as compared to the levels in 2010. However, regional differences in access to food mean that nearly 50 crore people would still remain at the risk of going hungry. Seven crore of these 50 crore would not have been at risk if not for climate change, the researchers said.
The report noted that while $620 billion (over Rs 48 lakh crore) are transferred to the farm sector as government subsidies worldwide every year, only three economies – China, the United States and the European Union spend more than half the amount. To bridge this, the report called for an immediate re-purposing of farm subsidies so that research and development and innovations in agriculture are properly financed.