Agroforestry and Food Chain

In view of the outmost significance of agricultural production on national economies, numerous research projects have been carried-out on estimates of climate change impacts on agriculture since 1990s. Most of the results of global and regional surveys indicate that the Mediterranean basin will be mostly affected by climate change.

Climate change is already threatening food security in the EMME region, and future models and scenarios predict even more unfavourable climatic conditions for food production for the rest of the century. Irrespective of the cropping system, crops, livestock and aquaculture are expected to be affected by the more intense heat waves, the higher average temperatures, the more intense and frequent droughts. The increase of temperature and the increased variability in annual rainfall is expected to increase the region’s aridity, exacerbating the already low productivity of agricultural ecosystems and the above and below-ground biodiversity. Loss of biodiversity from managed and unmanaged ecosystems will negatively affect the ecosystem services with immeasurable repercussions for the region.

Food production systems including agriculture, livestock as well as fisheries are important components of the economic activity of the EMME countries. The contribution of the primary production sector to GDP decreased dramatically in all countries since 1990, and today this corresponds to 3.06% with huge disparities between countries. Agricultural production has been identified as the economic activity most sensitive to climate change impacts in some countries of the eastern Mediterranean; despite this alarming forecast detailed studies are absent for many countries of the region, creating uncertainty and obstacles concerning the adaptation and mitigation measures needed.

The report of the TF estimates in quantitative terms the impacts of climate change on food production systems among the participating countries under different GHG – emission scenarios (based on the projections of regional climatic models), identifies the existing gaps in knowledge concerning our understanding of the climate change impacts on crop, animal, and fish production systems with special emphasis on the most vulnerable system components and the relevant natural resources, and prepare a common plan to ameliorate climate change impacts by adaptation or mitigation measures in the food chain sector in the region. In parallel, we will evaluate the implementation of existing National Plans, identify possible gaps or failures and propose policy actions to amend these.

Although ensuring food production in the EMME region necessitates the adaptation of policies and measures mainly at the national level, efforts and fundamental reforms and synergies should be regionally coordinated. Of particular importance is the exchange of know-how and successful good practices from one country to another. In fact, key policy guidance should involve institutional interactions, technical upgrades and science-based solutions. Resources as well as knowledge transfer and investments in agricultural ecosystems is essential to enhance adaptation to climate change and the development of specific tools and instruments to ensure food security and quality. The coordinated identification and employment of modern tools (digitalization, remote sensing etc.) at a regional level would offer a greater efficacy.