Around 44% of the EU’s imports in key agricultural crops could become highly vulnerable to droughts in remote areas by 2050. That’s what a new paper by RECEIPT scientists shows. Affecting food prices and food security, the vulnerability of the agricultural sector to climate change is of major concern. RECEIPT researchers tackled this issue for their latest publication in Nature, a leading scientific journal.

Today, around 1% of EU’s agricultural imports are defined as highly or extremely vulnerable to drought. But is set to change drastically. By 2050, between 40 and 44% of the imported crops by the EU will become highly vulnerable to drought. With less than 30 years before these predicted rates, these numbers show that rapid climate adaptation are essential. To do so, it is important to understand which crops are most vulnerable to drought, and how drought patterns will change with the climate crisis.

Ertug Ercin and his colleagues explored vulnerabilities of the EU’s food sector to drought in non-EU countries. Of the eight most important crops imported to the EU, some are far more vulnerable to drought than others. For example, sunflower seeds and maize remain at low risk of drought. In contrast, soybeans become moderately vulnerable, and coffee, cocoa, sugar cane and palm oil imports become high or very highly vulnerable to drought.

The researchers conclude that there is an urgent need for further greenhouse gas emissions reductions, together with better adaptation and mitigation strategies. This is key to reduce the EU’s vulnerability to drought in the near future. Find a summary of the article here.

Edit: This paper is getting some media traction as well! Have a look at the piece by The Guardian about it.
For a more scientific blog about the paper, head over to!

Published on : 15 June 2021