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Opinion | Climate Change and Food System Resilience

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

First published in The Jakarta Post (30/11/21).

The impacts of climate change are too big to ignore. The World Meteorological Organization reported that 2015 to 2021 are the seven warmest years on record and sea level rise is at a new high (World Meteorological Organization, 2021). The most common ways in which we can experience the impact of climate change is through extreme weather events, such as heavy rain, droughts, heatwaves, and tropical storms. Extreme weather events are among the main direct threat to our food security, through its impact on agriculture.

Extreme weather events can severely impact the agriculture sector. Both extreme drought and heavy rainfall can have adverse effects on crop productivity losses. The droughts in Kenya have caused maize harvest to be 42% - 70% below the average yield during the first season of harvest in 2021 (World Meteorological Organization, 2021). At the same time, the high rainfall that follows La Niña can increase the risk of flash floods, landslides and strong winds in Indonesia.

La Niña poses risks to Indonesian harvest at the end of the year. The Ministry of Agriculture took several steps to prepare for the upcoming weather phenomenon, such as rehabilitating the irrigation systems, socializing the use of puddle-resistant rice seeds, and collaborating with the Indonesian Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics Agency to develop an early-warning system.

Climate change may disrupt food availability and threaten food security. Conceptually, reduced product