Agriculture is the world’s largest agricultural sector and has been one of the main drivers of Mexico City’s economic development over the last decade.
But there are fears that it could soon be the hardest hit by climate change, and that the country could see a “food desert” of its own.
A study published in Science on Thursday found that a 20 percent reduction in the country’s annual average temperature would mean that a fifth of the country would face a “significant and immediate food security challenge.”
“The food is the most important thing we have, and it’s going to continue to be,” Miguel Guevara, a professor at the University of Otay Mesa, told AFP.
“It will be a challenge to feed everyone, but we have to do something about it.”
The report is part of a new climate study which aims to map the impact of climate change on Mexico, the world, and agriculture, which has been hit by drought, rising temperatures, and an increasing number of insects.
Guevaga, who co-authored the report with José Angel Soler, director of the University’s Institute of Biosphere and Environmental Sciences, says the region is “at the forefront of climate solutions.”
Gavilar told AFP that a “favorable climate and agricultural scenario” was a better fit for the country.
He said that, “it’s clear that the climate is warming and that we’re going to see an increase in extreme weather.”
“The world is moving toward a warmer climate, and Mexico is already experiencing the worst of it.
We have the worst record for temperature in the world,” Gueva said.
“If we don’t take action now, the situation will become much worse.”
Gueva, who also holds the chair of the Institute of Ecology at the Universidad Autónoma de Mexico, said the climate change scenario in Mexico was “very different from other regions.”
The country’s average temperature rose from 6.6 degrees Celsius in the 1990s to 10.7 degrees in 2017, which is “far from ideal,” according to the study.
“We are seeing an increase of temperature from the extreme and very dry winters in the north,” Gavilar said.
Mexico’s current crop is a mix of corn and soybeans, and most of it has been grown in the highlands.
The report also examined the impact that climate change could have on the economy, and whether or not it would have a negative impact on Mexico’s food supply.
It found that the loss of agriculture as a result of climate disruption would be “more than compensated for by the additional crop production in the cities,” with the agricultural sector having the biggest impact on the local economy.
The study found that in the rural sector, the loss in agriculture would be offset by an increase for agriculture in the urban areas.
“In the cities, the cost of food would be greater than in the countryside,” the study said.
However, in rural areas, the “economic impact of a climate disruption will be offset, due to a combination of improvements in infrastructure, more effective use of land, and more efficient irrigation and crop planting.”
The study also said that the impact on agriculture would “largely offset the climate impact of [the] agricultural disruption, especially in the large urban areas.”
Mexico currently has a population of around 5.6 million people, with most of them living in the northern region of the southern states of Tamaulipas and Guerrero, as well as in the northeastern region of Mexico.
But according to figures released in November by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the country was “miserably unprepared” to cope with climate change.
In the region, there is already evidence that “food insecurity has reached unprecedented levels,” with a “rising proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day, while food insecurity has increased by around 30 percent,” the FAO reported.
With the country already suffering from food insecurity, and food shortages caused by drought and a lack of rainfall, a large increase in food insecurity could exacerbate that problem, the study found.
The report noted that, in the past two decades, there has been a sharp increase in the frequency and severity of droughts in the region.
And, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the rate of dengue fever has increased three-fold, which could be a factor in the current outbreak.
At the same time, Mexico’s agriculture sector is struggling to meet growing demand, which comes from people travelling to Mexico from the United States.
The government recently introduced an emergency drought plan in order to feed those in need, and also announced that the nation’s drought-affected regions would be closed for the duration of the rainy season.
But Guevaras said that while the government is “working on solutions”