Climate change aiding spread of invasive pests on crops: FAO study

Invasive pests cost countries at least $70 billion annually

A study conducted under the auspices of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has found out that climate change is making pests, which ravage important agricultural crops, even more destructive, threatening global food security and the environment further. A report of the study was released on June 2, 2021.

The scientific review examined 15 plant pests that have spread or may spread due to climate change. Risks are increasing, the authors warn, with a single, unusually warm winter capable of providing conditions suitable for insect infestations.


Billions lost annually

The study was prepared by Professor Maria Lodovica at the University of Turin in Italy, along with 10 co-authors from across the globe, under the aegis of the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), which FAO hosts.

About 40% of global crop production is currently lost to pests, the FAO said, and plant diseases rob the global economy of more than $220 billion (Rs 16,372.4 billion) annually. Invasive pests cost countries at least $70 billion (Rs 5,209.4 billion), and they are also one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss.

Species such as fall armyworm, which feeds on crops that include maize, sorghum and millet, have already spread due to warmer climate.  Others, such as desert locusts, which are the world’s most destructive migratory pests, are expected to change their migratory routes and geographical distribution.

Movements like these threaten food security as a whole, the report said, and small holder farmers, as well as people in countries where food security is an issue, are among those especially at risk.


Preserving plant health

The report is among the key initiatives of the International Year of Plant Health, which concluded in June 2021. The authors have outlined several recommendations to mitigate the impact of climate change, starting with stepping up international cooperation, as effective management of plant pests in one country affects success in others.

They mentioned that as half of all emerging plant diseases are spread through travel and trade, improved measures to limit transmission, while adjustments to plant protection policies are also critical.

The authors also stressed the need for more research, and more investments in strengthening national systems and structures related to plant health.


To read in Punjabi and Hindi, click below.

ਮੌਸਮੀ ਬਦਲਾਅ ਅਤੇ ਕੀਟ

जलवायु परिवर्तन और कीट

2 thoughts on “Climate change aiding spread of invasive pests on crops: FAO study

  1. Seed companies will make money creating hybrid varieties e.g. heat tolerant wheat!!

  2. Well, these are the challenges that climate change will throw at plant geneticists and other farm scientists. However, the bigger issue is maintaining food security in the wake of the environmental changes, which pose a daunting challenge to everyone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *