Impact of climate change on agricultural production and food security of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Reza, Mohammad Selim (2019) Impact of climate change on agricultural production and food security of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) has a food security issue due to lack of suitable agricultural land, short growing seasons, and unsustainable agricultural policies promoting conventional industrial farming practices, with a limited range of agricultural produce (milk, eggs and poultry) and no facilities for secondary processing of these. The food security issue has been exacerbated in the last decades by climate change events (extreme temperatures, heavy rains and more frequent droughts) which have negatively impacted the province’s agricultural industry. The conventional industrial agricultural practices and the profit focus of maximization agricultural policies have contributed to and have intensified several environmental, social and economic problems. They have as well provided an inadequate guarantee for food security, as the NL agriculture industry does not secure enough healthy, fresh, nutritious, and affordable food alternatives for people to live and be healthy. This research is based on quantitative and qualitative data, collected through surveying both crop and dairy farmers located in western, central and eastern regions of the Newfoundland and Labrador province, and through a literature review of peer-reviewed articles, published government reports and documents and news articles. The research results show that any attempt to solve the multi-faceted problems of the NL agriculture impacted by climate change increases the significance of pursuing an agro-ecological approach to farming in the province. Integrated and small, highly diversified farms are one sustainable alternative to modern industrial farming, as they can make the current agricultural practices more resilient to global climate change (GCC), can enhance food security in the province, as well as reduce the impact of agricultural practices on GCC. This study has found that 100 percent of the crop and dairy farms production has been affected by two or more natural hazards, such as long winters/short growing seasons, late spring frost and heavy rains/rain storms, which are the results of climate change. More interestingly, 56 percent of the farm owners in the study area believe that industrial or conventional farm practices have little or no impact on environmental degradation or climate change, since they follow the agriculture rules and guiding principles imposed by the provincial and the federal government of Canada and apply efficient farm management strategies. In some cases, the soils, chemical fertilizers and fossil fuels are poorly managed by the farmers surveyed in the study area, but a good percentage of the farmers are trying to reduce dependency on chemical fertilizers and pesticides and fossil fuels and at the same time, are trying to increase the use of organic fertilizers, pesticides and renewable energy. Moreover, the current research has shown that there are incipient agro-ecological practices in the province, and that farmers are aware about climate change and the need to adopt more environment friendly farming practices. New policy frameworks and work plans are needed to speed up the transition from the current unsustainable farming practices to small-scale, organic, energy efficient and high yielding agro-ecological practices. Provincial as well as federal government support, and collaboration among educational and research institutions, agricultural farms, non-government organizations and the general public will promote agricultural diversification and integration and more environmentally-friendly farm practices within the province. These will ameliorate province’s food security issue, by increasing the supply of local fresh and healthy food, will provide additional financial benefits to the farm holders, as well as protect the local and the global environment.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 14276
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 144-180).
Keywords: Conventional Agriculture, Climate Change, Agroecology, Food Security, Sustainability
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Science and the Environment > Environmental Policy Institute
Date: July 2019
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Food security--Climatic factors; Agricultural estimating and reporting--Newfoundland and Labrador; Crops and climate--Newfoundland and Labrador.

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