Climate change is a large-scale problem that threatens the entire planet, but in Argentina it could generate favorable changes for agriculture.
The specialists conclude, according to the latest climate projections, that in some areas of the country there could be suitable climatic conditions for crop production.
Through the "Risk maps of water deficit and excess in crops according to climate change scenarios", the government projected until 2039 the amount of water that will be available for soybean, corn, wheat, sunflower and cotton crops.
"Climate change has two faces for our country's production: it will bring us problems but also opportunities," commented Luis Urriza, Undersecretary of Agriculture. "When we talk about global warming, we all think of an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme phenomena. But the projections on the maps show many nuances, which, for example, give traditionally dry areas opportunities to be productive, based on an increase in the rainfall regime ”: Carlos Gentile.
“In most of the humid pampas, which is a fertile plain of great extension as there are few in the world, we expect more rains, in quantity and intensity. There are going to be floods, but if we know how to manage the water we can be more productive ”, he commented.
It is estimated that climate change may bring some positive consequences in the future, according to Miguel Ángel Taboada, director of the state Soil Institute of the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), a benchmark within Latin America.
"The negative impact is very visible but it must also be taken into account that the greater amount of rains in summer that has been registered in the central area of Argentina has allowed agriculture to be taken to the west, to areas that were not considered productive, ”said Taboada.
Let's say that climate change didn't necessarily hurt us. The result is rather balanced ”, he evaluated.
In the new agricultural risk maps, two different scenarios are contemplated: one is the stabilization of the level of greenhouse gas emissions (called internationally, RCP 4.5) and another of increase (RCP 8.5).
A higher or lower level of rainfall is expected, according to the areas of the country and the times of the year. This new information will help producers to better plan their sowing dates, the duration of the cycles of each crop and even the choice of seeds.
When the study talks about opportunities to expand the arable area due to changes in the climate, it mentions that this will be the case for the main crops: soybeans, corn and cotton of transgenic origin.
Since 1996, in Argentina soy, corn and cotton have been grown with transgenic seeds, with the particularity of being resistant to herbicides or droughts.
Currently, the government is discussing the release of transgenic wheat, which has already been approved by the environmental and health authorities, but which faces unknowns from a commercial point of view, since it is not legal for now anywhere in the world.
The big producers
The study will then be taken advantage of by the large producers of commodities dedicated to exporting that will be able to adapt to the new climate scenario, while the small producers, who guarantee food sovereignty for all, will once again be left out of the system and harmed by the climate and lack assistance.
The authorities and specialists consulted, including the Undersecretary of Agriculture, agreed that family farmers are the least prepared to deal with the consequences of climate change and that the State should give them tools, something that has not been done so far, due to their determining role in internal food security.
It is agricultural activity on an industrial scale that would be best prepared to face the challenges of climate change.
“The productivity of Argentine agriculture has grown steadily over the years, thanks to technology and genetic improvement. To the extent that good management practices continue to be experienced, this trend will continue and climate change will be overcome, ”concluded Alejandro Maggi, specialist in soil management and conservation at the University of Buenos Aires.
The new climatic conditions in other areas of the country will be able to take advantage of this, but only the large producers will benefit from it, as they are the ones who have the possibilities to adapt to changes. They will also do it using transgenic crops, as they have been doing so far, together with a highly polluting technological package.
The study also mentions the better use of water in rainy areas, probably altering the hydrological basins for the benefit of private companies.
Family farming, which is concerned with generating crop diversity and guaranteeing the country's food sovereignty, will not only not have the possibility of adapting, but will surely continue to be displaced by industrial agriculture.
With information from: