Singapore: Climate change may curb maize, wheat and rice yields in South Asia, pushing prices higher and threatening food security for at least 1.6 billion people, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.

Maize yields may drop by 17%, wheat by 12% and rice by 10% in irrigated areas in South Asia because of climate change-induced heat and water stress, if current trends persist until 2050, the Manila-based lender said, citing a study by the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Raising concern: The Manila-based ADB said India, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh are more vulnerable to falling crop yields. Nana Buxani / Bloomberg

Falling food production in South Asia including India, the world’s second largest rice and wheat producer, may curb global supply, triggering a repeat of the food crisis that pushed prices to records and sparked riots from Haiti to Ivory Coast last year.

India restricted exports of rice, wheat and maize to bolster domestic supplies, helping push global prices to record highs last year.

Rough rice futures have fallen 44% from a record $25.07 (Rs1,230.93) per 100 pounds in April last year.

Wheat futures have fallen 64% from a record $13.495 a bushel in Chicago.