From: Reuters
Published December 19, 2007 12:54 PM

Grow more food in cities, U.N. agency tells Asia

GENEVA (Reuters) - Asian nations, many at risk from climate change, must invest more in urban and indoor farming to help feed the hundreds of millions of people in their growing cities, the World Meteorological Organisation said on Wednesday.

Of the 10 countries most affected by extreme weather in 2006, seven were Asian -- Afghanistan, China, India, Indonesia, North Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam, said the WMO, the U.N. agency looking at weather, climate and water problems.

Asia needs secure food supplies for its rising population, and "indoor and urban agriculture is receiving special attention to make most efficient use of space using controlled environments," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement after a 3-day meeting in Hanoi on sustainable farming.

Weather problems affecting Asia range from drought in recent years in Afghanistan and other central and southwest Asian countries to floods this year in China and Bangladesh.

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The WMO said it was necessary to improve seasonal prediction, early warning systems, and monitoring for regional droughts, to help farmers decide which crops to grow.

Forecasts could also help experts improve their ability to control the spread of pests and diseases.

The agency called on countries to provide the latest information on the impact of climate change on water resources, and assess whether modern or traditional methods of collecting rainwater were best for them.

(Reporting by Jonathan Lynn, editing by Tim Pearce)

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