Climate change is forcing winegrowers in France to adapt to heat waves and drought. Photo: Jill Wellington. Source: Pixabay.

FUF-correspondents, Report

Food production is affected by climate change – wine and coffee in the risk zone

Rising temperatures as a result of climate change affect food and food security throughout the world. Winegrowers in France are noticing the climate changes - and many have been forced to adapt their vineyards in order to maintain the same quality of the wine.
- You are constantly worrying about what the weather will be like, says a wine grower to Utvecklingsmagasinet.  

It never ceases to amaze me how vineyards and vineyards pop up here and there among the buildings and residential areas of Bordeaux in southwestern France. At the beginning of March, the vines are not very green, but you can see how they stretch over the area and make you fantasize about how nice and colorful it will be in the future.


A somewhat scary and uncertain word these days. What will the world and our surroundings actually look like in the future? Elevated temperatures and higher frequency of extreme weather conditions affect the harvest of some crops, including grapes, and thus affect food security in the world, according to the UN Climate Panel IPCC.

Wine is an important industry in Bordeaux, but climate change is changing the flavors of several different wines. This is what it looks like among the vines at the beginning of March. Photo: Vendela Permats Hammarbäck.

In Bordeaux, everything revolves around the wine. The range of wine tastings is large, wine is served in all cafes and almost every person you meet has one or another relative who is a wine grower, sommelier or deals in the import and export of wine.

But as heatwaves and droughts increase in frequency and intensity as a result of climate change, grapes ripen faster, which means they have higher sugar content and changed alcohol content and acidity. This in turn is changing the taste of French wines and may cause some varieties to die out completely in the future. Other grapes, such as Merlot, have benefited from the warmer climate. Winegrowers in the country forced to constantly adapt to the new climate and find new solutions to maintain the same quality of the wine.

- In the long term, we will have to adapt more than we do now and no one knows exactly how the wines will turn out, says a winegrower from Pessac, a commune near Bordeaux, who wishes to remain anonymous.

To adapt to climate change, winegrowers have, among other things, started using the soil as an irrigation system by keeping it moist and using the water collected there after rain as a reservoir in times of drought. They have also changed the way they cut the leaves on the vines – by leaving the leaves closest to the grape to protect it from the sun.

- You are constantly worrying about what the weather will be like, it affects your harvest, says the winegrower.

Several foods are affected by a changing climate

Climate change affects more foods than grapes. Global warming and unpredictable weather patterns are negatively altering farmers' growing opportunities and farmland around the world, meaning that it is not just the grape we may have to say goodbye to in the future. Coffee beans, avocado, cocoa and bananas are more examples of products that are affected by the changing climate.

The coffee bean is affected by climate change, and the cultivation of coffee beans may decrease drastically in the future. Photo: Young_n. Source: Pixabay.

Coffee is an important component for many people's everyday life to function. But the increased temperature in Latin America, where coffee cultivation is large, has given way to a destructive species of fungus called The Rust - which prevents the leaves of the coffee plant from growing to the same extent as before. Increased temperatures have also reduced the areas suitable for growing coffee beans in Africa, and scientists believe that coffee cultivation could decrease by 65 percent next year 2080.

The delicate cocoa bean requires high humidity and abundant rain to grow and is therefore mainly grown in countries around the equator, such as the Ivory Coast, Brazil and Indonesia. But even this arable land is at risk of decreasing with increasing altitude temperatures. The same applies to the cultivation land for bananas and avocados. Crops such as corn and wheat are also negatively affected by rising temperatures. Not at all to the same extent as previously mentioned products, but it is another sign that climate change is affecting food and food safety in the world.

Despite the fact that there are only seven years left until 2030, when they the global goals within Agenda 2030 must be achieved, the distance to reach sub-goal 2 will be No hunger bigger every year, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization FAO - which is largely due to climate change. 828 million people around the world lived below the hunger threshold in 2021, which was 150 million more than in 2019, and the number continues to rise in all parts of the world.

"Must change both production and consumption"

Andy Smith, research professor of political science at Sciences Po University in Bordeaux, also points to the issue of consumption when it comes to climate change and food security. In French agriculture, livestock production is dependent on maize cultivation – which uses large amounts of water. Therefore, many believe that precisely meat consumption must be reduced - in order not to use so much water resources to produce the fodder used to feed the animals.

- Both production and consumption must be changed. They go together, says Andy Smith.

He also believes that what is really important is that there is what he calls a new "Marshall Plan" for agriculture. It should be a plan that isn't just about forcing change – it should be about getting everyone on board.

- It is not only the farmers themselves who need to face change, but public authorities must also accompany the farmers in changing by providing them with public guidelines and financial security and support while they change, he says.  


Food and food safety 

Food and food safety, in English called food security, is a measure of access to safe and nutritious food for a healthy life and normal growth and development. A person is so-called food insecure when they lack regular access to safe and nutritious food. Food security is measured, among other things, in FAO's Food Insecurity Experience Scale 

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