13 Sep 2011

New report warns of more hunger in Pacific due to climate change

7:03 pm on 13 September 2011

The Asian Development Bank has given a stark warning about increasing hunger and malnutrition in the Pacific region because of climate change.

In a new report, it says Pacific Island countries need to produce more climate resistant crops like taro, yam and cassava and get investment for new varieties which can weather the effects of rising tides and temperatures.

An economist Mahfuz Ahmed says agricultural productivity's stagnated over the last 45 years, leaving Pacific Island people increasingly dependent on imported food.

"The focus should be on harnessing traditional productions and protecting them and learn about how one can build some resilience into those systems, (that means) some research and development work in conjunction with the regional organisations."

Mahfuz Ahmed says future food security also depends on national policy makers and planners making sure water pipes, roads and ports are climate proof.

The report also recommends more training in plant breeding and resource management.