The Sicilian Experience
A temperature rise of around one degree Celsius over the past 30 years has seen farmers in Sicily turn to a range of new crops more suited to warmer conditions.
One of them is Andrea Passanisi, who grows avocados close to Mount Etna. Along with other producers, this change has been very successful for Andrea.
However, as temperatures continue to rise, growing conditions are getting more difficult.
“The real climate change here is in the seasons,” he told BBC News.
“Once it was cold in November and December, now it is January or February – that is not good for avocados.”
Increased levels of drought and intense downpours are also challenging for farmers.
“If you grow on land that’s not suitable for avocado, it’s the end,” Andrea said.
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“We will continue to grow, as we have good land, but we will not have as much fruit.”
While the changing temperatures might seem to be bad news for current growers of these crops, there are some active steps that producers can take that could mitigate climate change.
“It is possible that in some regions where avocados are currently grown the use of the genetic variability of avocado might help,” said Dr Joaquin Guillermo Ramirez Gil, from the National University of Colombia, who wasn’t involved in the new study.
“This species has three ‘races’ with different geographical origins, which makes it quite ‘plastic’ to adapt to different climatic conditions.
“There are also local adaptations and new management alternatives such as the use of bio-stimulants and nanotechnology-based products as a basis for reducing stress due to extreme weather conditions.”