The impact of climate change on food production and the seaweed boom

According to the International Labor Organization, over the last 30 years, 200 million jobs in the food production sector have been lost worldwide, and this phenomenon mainly affects small producers. Another 120 million jobs could disappear by 2030. Small and medium-sized food producers are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and this group includes 65% of the world’s people living in extreme poverty. At the same time, small farms (with an area of less than 2 ha) provide about 35% of the world’s food supply.

There’s a new gold rush in Alaska – it’s seaweed farming. Local communities are turning to mariculture due to climate change, acidification, warming and rising sea levels, and declining wild salmon and other animal species populations. Seaweed is nutritious, rich in fibre, omega-3 fats, amino acids and vitamins A, B, C and E. They do not require fertilisers or additional nutrients; they absorb nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

In 2022, the U.S. corn, wheat and rice crops suffered from drought, and Texan cotton farmers failed to harvest ⅔ of their fields. This year, heat and drought are wreaking havoc on farms in the Sun Belt, and flooding has devastated crops in the Northeast. Increased rainfall also prevents haymaking. Climate change means higher air temperatures responsible for more heat waves, evaporation, moisture-saturated air, heavier rainfall, and warmer ocean temperatures.

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