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Food crops in a changing climate

30 April 2005

Food crop production is inherently sensitive to climate and weather. Changes in both the mean and the variability of climate, whether naturally forced (eg El Nino), or due to human activities, pose a threat to crop production globally. A Royal Society discussion meeting on food crops in a changing climate was held in April 2005 and had a particular focus on the challenges faced by Africa. The summary report of this meeting outlines new research that demonstrates that the impact of climate change on crop yields and quality will be more severe than previously thought. It highlights the need for research to improve the resolution and complexity of climate models and the consequent requirement for enhanced computer power. With respect to Africa, the importance of scientific capacity building and knowledge transfer to help Africa to monitor and adapt to climate change is outlined. Climate change and Africa are both priorities for the UK's 2005 Presidency of the G8 making this report particularly timely.