FIU, Walmart Foundation to Help Farmers Respond to Changing Climate

FIU is working to help build stronger agricultural systems in the face of climate change.

Florida is the nation’s largest producer of tomatoes, tropical fruits and winter vegetables, and climate change is expected to increase the occurrence and strength of droughts, floods, pest infestations and disease infestations. These effects of climate change can harm farmers, their crops and the country’s food supply.

Florida employs more than1.5 million people in the agriculture, natural resources and food processing industries. In Miami-Dade County alone, agriculture has a nearly $2.7 billion annual economic impact, according to the South Dade Chamber of Commerce. But, the state’s farmers are working under increasing pressures from environmental regulations, labor welfare regulations, international competition and consumer demand.

With support from The Walmart Foundation, researchers in FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education and the College of Business will conduct a thorough assessment of Florida’s tomato and strawberry production systems. They will evaluate the entire supply chain — from farmer to processor, distributor, retailer and consumer — to identify what works, what doesn’t, and why. The research team will offer environmentally sustainable and ethically responsible management strategies to help these industries and their work force adapt to climate change.

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