#ClimateActionPH: How does food production contribute to climate change?

MANILA, Philippines – You’ve heard about the impact of climate change on agriculture: not enough or too much rainfall, dry spells or intense typhoons significantly affect crop yields and livestock production. But did you know that agriculture also largely contributes to climate change? It’s a chicken-and-egg problem.

The agriculture sector accounts for 29% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions – the second biggest share next to the energy sector’s, according to latest data. Greenhouse gases are the culprit behind climate change.

Agricultural emissions come in the form of methane and nitrous oxide, which are released whenever farmers use organic or chemical fertilizers in the production of rice, vegetables, and fruits. Food production and transportation also entail the use of fuel, which emits carbon dioxide when burned.

In the meantime, livestock such as cows and goats produce methane when they digest food.

While cutting emissions from the sector will help minimize climate change risks, it’s easier said than done.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) explains why: “Agriculture is unique as it is directly related to food security and the livelihood of a large number of farmers.”

For instance, in 2015 alone, the Philippines produced 18.15 million metric tons of rice, which provided income to some 2 million farmers.

The UNDP therefore calls for a holistic approach in reducing emissions from the sector.

Check out the infographic below to know more about the problem and some ways to address it with minimal impact on livelihood and food production. – Rappler.com