Posts Tagged ‘agriculture’

Special journal issue “Feeding 9 billion by 2050: challenges and opportunities”

16/04/2015 2 comments

In its April edition, the journal ‘Food Security’ presents a series of papers presented at an OECD meeting on “Feeding 9 billion by 2050: challenges and opportunities”.

The articles cover a range of topics related to future food security, ranging from general outlooks over the debate of sustainable intensification to water, the role of fish, or the impact of soil degradation.

Strategic Foresight Conference at IFPRI

A one-day Strategic Foresight Conference took place at IFPRI Headquarters in Washington DC on November 7, 2014. Participants from leading global modeling groups, collaborating CGIAR centers and research programs, and other partners reviewed new long-term projections for global agriculture from IFPRI and other leading institutions, examined the potential impacts of climate change and other key challenges, and discussed the role of foresight work in identifying and supporting promising solutions. 

Topics included:

  • Long-term outlook and challenges for food & agriculture
  • Addressing the challenges
  • Foresight in the CGIAR

Speakers included representatives from IFPRI, GTAP & Purdue University, OECD, IIASA, CCAFS, CIMMYT and ICRISAT. Conference agenda, a webcast, as well as the presentations are available on the Global Futures & Strategic Foresight website.

A new climate for farming

In a new web special A New Climate For Farming Nature Climate Change presents a collection of articles and opinion pieces that deal with the various aspects of agriculture and climate change:

Climate change fundamentally alters the way that farmers need to plan and manage their operations. This is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting growing demand for food, fuel and fibre. This is a grand challenge for farmers and has the potential to touch the lives of everyone that uses farmed produce; in short, all of us. In this focus, Nature Climate Change presents a variety of original research and opinion pieces that highlight important themes in our understanding of the effects of climate change on agriculture, agriculture’s influence on the climate and our capacity to adapt to better face these challenges.

Simulation modeling for foresight analysis and ex-ante impact assessment in potato and sweetpotato

Is it possible to use large scale agricultural simulation models for the analysis of crops like potatoes and sweetpotatoes?

Yes! The Global Futures for Agriculture and Strategic Foresight (GFSF) project, which has the objective of developing and applying an integrated simulation modeling framework for the comprehensive analysis of trends and technology impacts in the CGIAR mandate crops and systems, is doing exactly this. At least the part of this research collaboration of all in all 12 centers of the CGIAR which is taking place at the International Potato Center (CIP), as was explained in a seminar held on 24 April 2014 at the CIP Headquarters in Lima.

The core component of the modeling framework developed in the project is the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT), an economic partial equilibrium model of the world agricultural sector. IMPACT has the capability of generating forward looking global analyses of supply, demand, prices and trade of 56 agricultural commodities in 320 geographic regions, taking into account major drivers like

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Graph of the year 2013: Proportion of calories delivered as food

Although already well into 2014, here is my personal “Graph of the Year 2013”: The proportion of produced calories that are delivered to the food system.


Source: Cassidy et al., Environm. Res. Lett. 8 (2013) 034015

The figure is one output of a study carried out by Emily Cassidy and colleagues of the University of Minnesota that was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

The researchers approach the challenge to provide sufficient amounts of food amidst global population growth, increased biofuel production and changing dietary preferences from a different angle than is widely done. Instead of estimating the increases in farm prodution necessary to satisfy the rising needs for agricultural products they analyze the current allocation of the world’s crop production to different uses.

According to the study, only 55% of global calorie production is directly used for human consumption. The remaining 45% serve either as animal feed or other uses such as industrial purposes and biofuels. In consequence, 41% of all calories produced are lost from the global food system. While the crops grown on one hectare could satisfy the caloric needs of 10 people, currently only 6 people are fed.

The graph gives a global overview of the fraction of the calories delivered to the food system per calories produced.  It shows that the losses from the food system are highest where livestock production, industrial uses and biofuels production are of a high importance. These are mainly the most affluent regions (e.g. North America, Europe), but also the regions in which agriculture is oriented at the production of animal feed for the global market (e.g. Eastern South America).

The arguably most important conclusion from the analysis is that if the crop calories used for feed and other uses were shifted to direct human consumption, up to around 4 billion more people could be fed. Or, perhaps easier to achieve, already small changes in the allocation of crops to animal feed and biofuels could significantly increase global food availability.


Modeling climate change and agriculture: a special issue of Agricultural Economics

AgEconAgMIPA highly interesting series of articles on economic foresight modeling in the area of agriculture and climate change has been published in the January 2014 special issue “Modeling climate change and agriculture” of Agricultural Economics.

The articles present analyses of the future consequences of climate change and global socio-economic development trends for agricultural production, food consumption, along with the potential impacts of alternative policy responses to these developments. All articles are outputs of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) and the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP), which brought together key global economic modeling groups in a cross-model scenario comparison exercise.

The articles are not only insightful with respect to the projections themselves, but also give a very good impression of the present global economic modeling landscape. It is also highly valuable that identical scenarios have been simulated with a large number of simulation models. This provides important evidence about the degree of uncertainty in the model projections and helps understanding root causes for differences in model results.

The articles are

And what’s also great: All articles are Open Access!

Emerging issues in agricultural trade