Climate change consideration is another key component of TFA programs. Climate change and agriculture are interrelated processes which take place on a global scale but affect different regions in distinct ways. Among its many impacts, climate change affects agriculture through changes in temperature, amount of rainfall, and by causing climate extremes. Climate change also spawns changes in crop pests and diseases and therefore spraying behaviors of farmers and can also affect the nutritional quality of some foods in the long-run.
Over time (although exactly how long is still yet to be determined), climate change is likely to affect agriculture in the following ways:
- productivity- crops grown and quantity and quality of crops will be affected
- agricultural practices- changes in water use (irrigation, availability, etc.) and the use of herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers will likely increase without intervention
- environmental effects- including soil erosion and reduction of crop diversity, which is already a major problem in the region
- land ownership- environmental challenges and changes in the types of crops that are grown will likely cause small farmers to turn to contract farming or sell their land
- adaptation- responses to climate change could cause organisms to become either more or less competitive, and GMO organisms may be developed in order to combat the results of climate change (i.e. flood/drought/salt resistant varieties of rice)
Information on the specific effects of climate change is limited in most regions, but it is certain that some degree of change is inevitable. It is the aim of The Field Alliance to minimize the negative impact of agriculture practices on the environment by promoting ecological agriculture practices and to educate farmers on the potential impacts of climate change so that they may guard against it or explore alternative agriculture practices such as climate resistant crops and polycropping in order to diminish over-reliance on a single crop.