THE Philippine corn crop will be most at risk from climate change by 2030, followed by sugar and rice, the World Bank said.

“Climate change poses major risks to the Philippines’ agriculture sector achieving sustainable growth and higher productivity,” the World Bank said in a background paper.

“Evidence suggests climate change will cause yields and suitable growing areas of many crops to decline. In 2030, the biggest decline in yield and production is expected for maize (corn), followed by sugarcane, then rice; in 2050, maize will be most affected, followed by bananas and rice,” it added.

Between 2000 and 2019, the Philippines was considered the fourth most-affected country by extreme weather events, the bank said.

“Agriculture is significantly affected by climate shocks that damage crops, livestock, and rural infrastructure, e.g., irrigation canals, post-harvest facilities, and rural roads, and disrupt the logistics of agriculture products and supplies,” it said.

“Increasing temperatures affect crop and livestock yields, foster greater pest incidence, and reduce labor productivity. These impacts contribute to food deficits, increased food insecurity, and considerable social and economic disruptions,” it added.

The Philippine Statistics Authority estimates that damage from natural extreme events and disasters between 2010 and 2019 amounted to around $9 billion, with agricultural damage accounting for 63% of this total, the bank said.

Climate change will also lead to slower agricultural gross value added growth, pressure government savings, and keep agricultural wages low, the bank said.

The bank cited the need to transition to climate-smart agriculture and adopt climate adaptation and mitigation strategies.

“Reforming agricultural support policies can encourage the adoption of diversified production systems, which tend to be more resilient to climate shocks,” it said. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson