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Minister: Climate change may affect South Africa's corn crop severely
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15:16, July 07, 2008

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South Africa's corn yield will fall by 20 percent in 15 to 20 years due to climate change, South African Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Sunday.

Western South Africa is becoming drier while the east is facing increasingly severe storms, Schalkwyk said

Schakwyk made the remarks on his arrival in Japan for the three-day summit of the Group of Eight (G8), in which climate change and soaring global food prices are at the top of the agenda.

"For a developing country that's major, and major bad news," Schalkwyk added. "For us it's not something far in the future, it's already happening."

Schalkwyk said South Africa will turn to more drought-resistantstrains of corn for the increasingly dry western region.

South Africa consumes about 8 million tonnes of corn every year. Its output was 7.125 million tonnes in 2007 and exceeded 11 million tonnes this year thanks to better rains.

According to the minister, climate change will also spread malaria and destroy infrastructure that wasn't built to withstand strong winds and heavy rains.

In order to fight climate change, Schalkwyk called on developed countries to cut their emissions by 80 to 95 percent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels and to transfer technology to developing countries to slow their emission growth.


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