It is a perilous time to be a farmer. Across the world, 2015 broke records for unseasonal, unprecedented, and unexpected weather. The combination of El Niño and climate change produced conditions with devastating effects for the agriculture sector around the globe. This article examines the impacts of unseasonal weather on farmers around the world, in losses to yield quality and quantity but also in economic, physical and psychological effects for farmers coping with the “new normal” in weather. It considers regional differences in farmers’ susceptibility to unseasonal weather, and presents the implications of the lack of resiliency of the major crop producers for the future of food security, and by extension, political stability. Finally, it looks at how the international community is addressing this situation, concluding with practical and achievable means for farmers and cooperatives to start to build resiliency to climate change today.
Farmers around the world experience significant losses from extreme weather
It is the prize that the world did not want to see given. Nonetheless, 2015 proved to have no limit to its unseasonal and unprecedented weather. Based largely on a combination of a strong El Nino and human-induced global warming, global average surface temperatures exceeded all previous on record to reach the symbolic and significant milestone of 1°C above the pre-industrial era.