Climate change is a significant factor that for many farmers and produce suppliers. The effects of climate change across the globe now necessarily play a huge role in the planning and implementing of producing food.
The effects of extreme heat, cold, and precipitation, are already dictating where things can be grown, such as in the Wheat Belt. The intense cold often leads to earlier or latent frost during the early spring and fall. It is especially detrimental for cereal crops, which flower during the springtime and whose yield and grain quality suffer as a result of frost. Soil type, the topography of the area, and physical barriers like trees and fences factor into the damage done by frost, but sometimes there is little that can be done to protect plants.
Two of the world’s biggest producers of wheat – India, and Russia – will feel the effects of climate change on their crops significantly. Indian wheat is expected to feel the most stress from hotter temperatures and will experience a drop in production. On the other hand, Russia will most likely be able to expand their farmland and continue to grow as one of the world’s leading exporters of wheat.
The rising temperatures during the growing season also pose a threat to farmland that has traditionally been home to wheat and other cereal crops. High temperatures put stress on the plants and affect the development of crops. Some experts believe that by the end of the 21st century, the Midwestern United States, which is known for growing wheat and corn, will be better suited for growing cotton, soybeans, grass, and forests.
There is a possibility that “some farmlands in higher latitudes may benefit and become more productive,” but rising emissions of greenhouse gasses will still have an impact on food production in the next thirty to eighty years. Wealthier and more temperate regions are predicted to hold up the best against climate change, but tropical areas and poorer countries will be affected the most.
It is important to note that climate change will not just shift where certain crop can be grown – it will significantly lower expected yearly yields on a global scale. Innovative farming, like the techniques Katif is developing, will help offset the decline in crop yield and quality through the use of greenhouses, ensuring that certain areas like the Wheat Belt can continue to export their main crops to other parts of the world using less land and relying less on the unpredictability of the ever-changing climate.
Theoretically, any plant can be grown and harvested in a greenhouse. As consumers become more interested in products other than the ones that current indoor farms focus on (leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, berries, and capsicum), the innovative farming industry and developers will follow the demand.
Innovative farming will benefit regions that will be most affected by drought, flooding, and extreme temperatures so that the shift to other areas for production halts. Katif’s goal in innovative farming technology is more than keeping up with the global demand for agricultural products. They want to ensure that regions across the globe that rely on exporting certain foods will not suffer economically due to climate change.