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UN Agency: Climate Change May Hurt Food Production for Poor

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says climate change may hurt food production in tropical areas.

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf told an audience in India Tuesday that crop yields will probably fall in the seasonally dry tropics as global average temperatures rise. He said agriculture dependent on rain in semi-arid regions is particularly at risk.

He also said India might lose nearly one-fifth of its rain-fed cereal production.

Diouf said small temperature increases of one to three degrees Celsius could boost crop yields in most industrialized countries, which mostly have colder climates, but that higher temperatures would hurt food production at lower altitudes.

Diouf called for a concentrated scientific effort to help adapt crops to the likely future conditions.

As an example, he cited genetically modifying crops to be more tolerant of drought, extreme temperatures, soil acidity and salinity.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.