IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability Fisheries

Global fish production for food is forecast to increase from now to 2020, but not as rapidly as world demand. Per capita fish consumption and fish prices are expected to rise, with wide variations in commodity type and region. By 2020, wild-capture fisheries are predicted to continue to supply most of the fish produced in sub-Saharan Africa (98%), the USA (84%) and Latin America (84%), but not in India (45%) where aquaculture production will dominate (Delgado et al., 2003). All countries in Asia are likely to produce more fish between 2005 and 2020, but the rate of increase will taper. Trends in capture fisheries (usually zero growth or modest declines) will not unduly endanger overall fish supplies; however, any decline of fisheries is cause for concern given the projected growth in demand (Briones et al., 2004). Subsistence and smallholder agriculture

‘Subsistence and smallholder agriculture’ is used here to describe rural producers, predominantly in developing countries, who farm using mainly family labour and for whom the farm provides the principal source of income (Cornish, 1998). Pastoralists and people dependent on artisanal fisheries and household aquaculture enterprises (Allison and Ellis, 2001) are also included in this category.

There are few informed estimates of world or regional population in these categories (Lipton, 2004). While not all smallholders, even in developing countries, are poor, 75% of the world’s 1.2 billion poor (defined as consuming less than one purchasing power-adjusted dollar per day) live and work in rural areas (IFAD, 2001). They suffer, in varying degrees, problems associated both with subsistence production (isolated and marginal location, small farm size, informal land tenure and low levels of technology), and with uneven and unpredictable exposure to world markets. These systems have been characterised as ‘complex, diverse and risk-prone’ (Chambers et al., 1989). Risks (Scoones et al., 1996) are also diverse (drought and flood, crop and animal diseases, and market shocks) and may be felt by individual households or entire communities. Smallholder and subsistence farmers and pastoralists often also practice hunting–gathering of wild resources to fulfil energy, clothing and health needs, as well as for direct food requirements. They participate in off-farm and/or non-farm employment (Ellis, 2000).

Subsistence and smallholder livelihood systems currently experience a number of interlocking stressors other than climate change and climate variability (outlined in Section 5.2.2). They also possess certain important resilience factors: efficiencies associated with the use of family labour (Lipton, 2004), livelihood diversity that allows the spreading of risks (Ellis, 2000) and indigenous knowledge that allows exploitation of risky environmental niches and coping with crises (see Cross Chapter Case Study on Indigenous Knowledge). The combinations of stressors and resilience factors give rise to complex positive and negative trends in livelihoods. Rural to urban migration will continue to be important, with urban populations expected to overtake rural populations in less developed regions by 2017 (UNDESA 2004). Within rural areas there will be continued diversification away from agriculture (Bryceson et al., 2000); already non-farm activities account for 30-50% of rural income in developing countries (Davis, 2004). Although Vorley (2002), Hazell (2004) and Lipton (2004) see the possibility, given appropriate policies, of pro-poor growth based on the efficiency and employment generation associated with family farms, it is overall likely that smallholder and subsistence households will decline in numbers, as they are pulled or pushed into other livelihoods, with those that remain suffering increased vulnerability and increased poverty.