Study Predicts These 2 Popular Foods Are Resilient To Climate Change

A new study by researchers at the University of Florida predicts that the supply chains of two of America’s most popular plant-based foods – French fries and pasta sauce – are surprisingly resilient to climate change.

To make their predictions, the researchers developed an innovative modeling approach to assess opportunities for climate adaptation and mitigation in fruit and vegetable supply chains. Although this methodology uses the best technology available today, the resulting predictions should be treated with some caution, says UF / IFAS scientist Clyde Fraisse, who follows his colleague Senthold Asseng in the leadership of the research team behind the study.

“This research represents the first time that scientists have been able to assess how changes in our climate and increased competition for resources will impact the ability of farmers to increase fruit and vegetable production,” says Fraisse.

The methodology includes climate, crop, economic and life cycle assessment models applied to US potato and tomato supply chains. Crop modeling shows that planting strategies can be used to avoid higher temperatures. Land and water footprints will decrease over time due to higher efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions can be mitigated by reducing waste and modifying processes.

While promising, the study’s authors caution that model predictions are not guarantees.

“Current models are unable to fully assess the potential impact of future extreme weather events, including tropical storms and heat waves which can affect crops with varying degrees of intensity depending on their stage of development” , explains Fraisse.

“We assumed that irrigation would continue to be fully available, which is a reasonable assumption for these higher value crops, but that might not be true for areas like the San Joaquin Valley in California, a. times you look beyond the 2050 horizon of our study, ”says David Gustafson, Agriculture & Food Systems Institute scientist and lead author of the study.

The team is now applying their analytical method to carrots, green beans, spinach, strawberries and sweet corn. It can also be applied to other crops, fresh or processed products and geographies, thus informing decision making throughout supply chains. The use of such methods will be essential as food systems adapt to climate change.

The new research, published in Natural food, is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.



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