According to an FAO study launched at a UN conference on disaster risk reduction in Japan, the agricultural sector bears the brunt of droughts, floods, storms and tsunamis, accounting for at the very least nearly a quarter of all the damage they have caused in the developing world.
Aid not in same league
Such damage is often incurred by poor rural and semi-rural communities without insurance and lacking the financial resources needed to regain lost livelihoods, the report says.
Yet only 4.5% of post-disaster humanitarian aid between 2003 and 2013 targeted agriculture, even though US$70bn in damage was done to crops and livestock over that period.
"Agriculture and all that it encompasses is not only critical for our food supply, it also remains a main source of livelihoods across the planet," said FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva.
“While it is a sector at risk, agriculture also can be the foundation upon which we build societies that are more resilient and better equipped to deal with disasters.”
FAO to set up institute
The FAO has revealed plans to open a facility that aims to equip the industry to reduce their risk in disasters so they are better prepared to cope.
"With this new effort, we are aiming to limit peoples' exposure to risks, avoid or reduce impacts where possible, and enhance preparedness to respond quickly when disasters occur," said Graziano da Silva.
Worldwide, the livelihoods of 2.5 billion people depend on agriculture. Small-scale farmers, herders, fishermen and forest-dependent communities generate more than half of global agricultural production.