A recently published study has found that changes to global climate conditions has already impacted global food production from the top 10 crops by between -13.4% (palm oil) and +3.5% (soyabean).

The crops included in the study conducted at the University of Minnesota include the top three global cereals of rice, wheat and maize along with barley, soyabean oil palm, sugarcane, cassava, rapeseed, and sorghum.

The study, published in PLOS One, focused on the impact of precipitation and temperature changes on these 10 crops.

Negative for Europe

The results found changes to climate conditions have been mostly negative in Europe, Southern Africa and Australia but generally positive in South America. Impacts in Asia and North America are mixed.

Crops yields were translated into consumable food calories and the study reports there has been an average reduction of 1% in caloric availability. Food insecure nations have been particularly vulnerable with almost half experiencing a decrease in calorie availability.

Ireland had one of the largest reported reductions in consumable food calories in Northern and Eastern Europe, mainly as a result of decreased wheat and barley yields. Calories from these crops reduced by 12% accounting for a 3% overall drop in all consumable calories.


In France there was a large yield loss of almost leading to a 24% reduction in consumable calories from the 10 crops. Other large EU countries were affected to a lesser extent with reductions of 11% in Germany, 7% in Italy and 4% in Spain.

Globally among the top three crops, recent yields have decreased by 1.6 million tons (Mt) for rice, 5Mt for wheat, and 0.2Mt for maize. This equates to an annual decrease in consumable calories of 0.4%, 0.5% and 0.7% from rice, wheat and maize respectively.

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