Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) Training

By Daniel Mason-D'Croz and Shahnila Dunston, IFPRI—

In collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) presented a 5-day short-course on scenario analysis and economic modeling with IFPRI’s International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT). The course was hosted by CAAS in Beijing, China from 18-22 September 2017. The course was organized with the objective to introduce IMPACT to 12 participants invited by CAAS, and to help them determine how IMPACT might be used to contribute to their current research on Sino-African technology transfers, as well as potential China-specific country analysis.

Speed-Dating

The course was led by Daniel Mason-D’Croz and Shahnila Dunston of IFPRI’s IMPACT team. They presented materials on a variety of scenario design methodologies, an introduction to how to use IMPACT, as well as the underlying economic theory behind IMPACT. The course was organized to be interactive, and walked participants through practical exercises of how IFPRI uses IMPACT to conduct ex-ante analysis.

Developing Factors of Change

The course provided a valuable opportunity to network with China experts, and to hopefully will serve as the basis of future collaboration and knowledge exchange between CAAS and IFPRI. Keith Wiebe of IFPRI also joined Daniel and Shahnila to meet with CAAS officials regarding possible next steps for collaboration.

MINK: Process-based crop modeling for global food security

By Richard Robertson, IFPRI —

Over the last decade, computer models of crop growth have increasingly been used to understand how climate change may affect the world's capacity to produce food. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has undertaken a major sustained effort to analyze changes in the productivity of major crops across the entire world. The results are integrated into economic modeling efforts ranging from household to country-level economy-wide models to the global agricultural sector partial-equilibrium economic model known as IMPACT. With the models working together, researchers can examine how biophysical changes in crop growth interact with changes in social and economic conditions.

Now, for the first time, IFPRI is releasing a comprehensive volume describing the global-scale crop modeling system behind IMPACT known as “Mink” for short. Download here.

Mink generates yield maps for the entire world that can be compared to identify locations most likely to be affected by climate change.

Crop modeling starts at the field level and scaling this up to the global level is challenging. Climate data must be collated, processed, and formatted. Representative crop varieties and planting calendars have to be chosen. Fertilizer input levels need to be specified. Myriad other assumptions need to be considered and appropriate values and strategies determined. And that is just the preparation phase. All the data then have to be organized, exported, and run through the crop models to obtain simulated yields under different climate scenarios and production environments. This necessitates employing parallel computing to get the job done quickly enough to be useful. And then the reams of output data must be organized, manipulated, analyzed, and finally interpreted to provide context as well as specific information so policymakers can plan appropriately for the future.

Collaborators from across the CGIAR and universities in India gather at ICRISAT to learn how to use Mink in support of their own research.

Naturally, with so much going on, the process can be mysterious for those looking in from the outside and potentially confusing even for those on the inside.

The document addresses how Mink works at several different levels. There is the broad discussion of interest to policymakers and managers concerning how global-scale crop modeling can be used, its strengths and weaknesses, how to think about the issues, and where it sits in the wider context of agricultural and policy research. At a middle level, every step of the process is described for those who wish to understand how it works so they can use the results properly, but not necessarily generate the numbers themselves. Along the way, though, various tips, tricks, and lessons learned are revealed for those who do, in fact, wish to replicate this kind of work on their own. And finally, for collaborators and researchers who wish to use Mink themselves, there is the nitty-gritty, nuts-and-bolts level documentation and tutorial aspects that literally say "Change this number; click here and drag there."

Mink has been used to provide insight for numerous reports, peer-reviewed journal articles, and the popular press, some examples being:

National Geographic. Climate Change: 5 Ways It Will Affect You: Crops. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/climate-change/how-to-live-with-it/crops.html

Rosegrant et al. 2017. Quantitative foresight modeling to inform the CGIAR research portfolio. http://ebrary.ifpri.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15738coll2/id/131144

Islam et al. 2016. Structural approaches to modeling the impact of climate change and adaptation technologies on crop yields and food security. Global Food Security 10: 63-70. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2016.08.003

Wiebe et al. 2015. Climate change impacts on agriculture in 2050 under a range of plausible socioeconomic and emissions scenarios. Environmental Research Letters 10: 085010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/10/8/085010

Müller and Robertson. 2014. Projecting future crop productivity for global economic modeling. Agricultural Economics 45: 37-50. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/agec.12088

Rosegrant et al. 2014. Food security in a world of natural resource scarcity: The role of agricultural technologies. http://dx.doi.org/10.2499/9780896298477

We hope this volume will be a valuable resource for global modelers running simulations, their collaborators making use of the results, and ultimately for policymakers trying to determine appropriate courses of action in a changing world.

Major and ongoing support for this work has been provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) through the Global Futures and Strategic Foresight Project.

Global Futures & Strategic Foresight Extended Team Meeting at IRRI, 15-19 May 2017

By Keith Wiebe — 

IRRI recently hosted the Global Futures & Strategic Foresight (GFSF) Extended Team Meeting and Writeshop from May 15-19, 2017. GFSF is a CGIAR initiative to explore long-term trends, challenges, and policy options for food and agriculture through multidisciplinary foresight analysis. GFSF is led by IFPRI in collaboration with AfricaRice, Bioversity, CIAT, CIFOR, CIMMYT, CIP, ICARDA, ICRAF, ICRISAT, IITA, ILRI, IRRI, IWMI, and WorldFish. The meeting was led by Keith Wiebe (IFPRI) and Steve Prager (CIAT), with participants from across the CGIAR.

The week-long meeting and writeshop focused on the preparation of a series of papers for an upcoming special issue of the journal Global Food Security. The papers draw on recent analysis of alternative agricultural research and investment scenarios, and will focus on a range of commodities, regions, and cross-cutting topics. It is hoped that the results will help inform decision making in the CGIAR and its partners. GFSF is funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other donors.

 

Exploring the impact of alternative investments on poverty, hunger, and the environment

By Tim Sulser —  

The Global Futures and Strategic Foresight program recently released results of a study using quantitative foresight modeling to explore the impacts of alternative investments in agricultural research, resource management, and infrastructure on the CGIAR’s System Level Outcomes relating to poverty (SLO1), food and nutrition security (SLO2), and natural resources and ecosystem services (SLO3). Impacts to 2050 were analyzed in the context of changes in population, income, technology, and climate. The report is intended to help decision makers and donors assess the potential impacts of alternative investment strategies for agricultural research and development over the long term, as a complement to ex post analyses and other sources of information. The analysis was led by IFPRI with contributions from colleagues in all 15 CGIAR Centers and other institutions, and with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development, the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The report can  be accessed online and downloaded in pdf form by visiting this page.

See Also: Related Blog Post on the PIM Website.

 

Conservation Agriculture discussed in Tunisia

The representatives of more than 10 public administrations and agencies representing a wide range of agricultural institutions, farmers and farmers associations attended a round table to discuss the milestones for further development of Conservation Agriculture in Tunisia, held in Tunis on 16 March 2017.

The workshop was organized by ICARDA, jointly with IRESA-Tunisia (Agricultural Research and Higher Education Institution) within the frame of the Global Futures and Strategic Foresight project of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institution and Markets. Conservation agriculture (CA) is a system-based practice combining no mechanical tillage, permanent soil surface cover, crop diversification and use of adequate crop sequences. Read More.

2017 Global Food Policy Report

We are pleased to announce that we are now going to be making a regular contribution to IFPRI’s annual flagship publication, the Global Food Policy Report, in the form of a statistical annex presenting up-to-date projections for key indicators of production, consumption, trade, and hunger from the IMPACT system of models.  Click here for more information on the 2017 Global Food Policy Report.

We are also making these annex tables available for download via our dedicated Dataverse portal.

Annex Table 6 is available in extended format.

Annex Table 7 is available in extended format.

Exploring impacts of climate and socioeconomic change in West Africa

By Daniel Mason-D'Croz and Shahnila Islam, IFPRI

Climate change will likely have a negative effect on the agriculture sector in West Africa due to changing precipitation patterns and increasing temperatures. These changes can have negative impacts on food security in the region and, ultimately, the consequences of these changes will depend in part on society’s capacity to adapt to an uncertain future. A new article in the peer-reviewed journal Global Environmental Change, “Linking regional stakeholder scenarios and shared socioeconomic pathways: Quantified West African food and climate futures in a global context”, explores this uncertainty through four regional socioeconomic scenarios developed in a series of regional stakeholder driven workshops.

ccafs

Fig. Cartoon representation of West African Scenarios by André Daniel Tapsoba (Palazzo et al. 2016)

This study suggests that investments in agriculture, particularly in productivity enhancing technologies and practices, could not only improve access to food but also ease pressures on agricultural land expansion throughout the region.

This study is part of the Regional Scenarios Project, a large collaborative effort led by the CGIAR program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) that has developed regional scenarios in 6 macro regions around the world and has involved significant collaboration among colleagues in the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the University of Oxford Environmental Change Institute (ECI).

IFPRI’s participation in this project is also supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Read the press release at IIASA.

The journal article can be accessed here.

Related links:

IIASA Blog post by Amanda Palazzo describing the scenario process in West Africa.

GFSF Blog post by Daniel Mason-D’Croz summarizing outputs from the Regional Scenario Project.

CCAFS Regional Scenario Page.

Do markets and trade help or hurt the global food system adapt to climate change?

By Keith Wiebe, IFPRI

food-policy-coverRapidly expanding global trade in the past three decades has lifted millions of people out of poverty. But trade has also reduced manufacturing wages in high income countries and made entire industries uncompetitive in some communities, giving rise to nationalist politics that seek to stop or reverse further trade expansion in the United States and Europe. Given complex and uncertain political support for trade, how might changes in trade policy affect the global food system’s ability to adapt to climate change?

The authors for the new Food Policy paper "Do markets and trade help or hurt the global food system adapt to climate change?" argue that the best way to understand food security in a changing climate is by looking at it as a double exposure: the exposure of people and processes to both economic and climate-related shocks and stressors. Trade can help us adapt to climate change, or not. If trade restrictions proliferate, double exposure to both a rapidly changing climate and volatile markets will likely jeopardize the food security of millions. A changing climate will present both opportunities and challenges for the global food system, and adapting to its many impacts will affect food availability, food access, food utilization and food security stability for the poorest people across the world. Global trade can continue to play a central role in assuring that global food system adapts to a changing climate. This potential will only be realized, however, if trade is managed in ways that maximize the benefits of broadened access to new markets while minimizing the risks of increased exposure to international competition and market volatility. For regions like Africa, for example, enhanced transportation networks combined with greater national reserves of cash and enhanced social safety nets could reduce the impact of ‘double exposure’ on food security.

 

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The paper can be accessed online and downloaded in pdf from this page.

This article was originally posted on PIM Webpage.

 

Improved modeling of rice under environmental stresses

By Tao Li & Samarendu Mohanty, IRRI

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Photo Credit: IRRI

The worldwide usage of and increasing citations for ORYZA2000 has established it as a robust and reliable ecophysiological model for predicting the growth and yield of rice in an irrigated lowland ecosystem. Because of its focus on irrigated lowlands, its computation ability is limited in the representation of the effects of the highly dynamic environments of upland, rainfed, and aerobic ecosystems on rice growth and yield. Additional modules and routines to quantify daily variations in soil temperature, carbon, nitrogen, and environmental stresses were then developed and integrated into ORYZA2000 to capture their effects on primary production, assimilate allocation, root growth, and water and nitrogen uptake.

The newest version has been renamed “ORYZA version 3 (v3)”. Case studies have shown that the root mean square errors (RMSE) between simulated and measured values for total biomass and yields ranged from 11.2% to 16.6% across experiments in non-drought and drought and/or nitrogen-deficient environments. ORYZA (v3) showed a significant reduction of the RMSE by at least 20%, thereby improving the model’s capability to represent values measured under extreme conditions. It has also been significantly improved in representing the dynamics of soil water and crop leaf nitrogen contents. With an enhanced capability to simulate rice growth and development and predict yield in non-stressed, water-stressed and nitrogen-stressed environments, ORYZA (v3) is a reliable successor of ORYZA2000.

Download the paper here

Fish to 2050 in the ASEAN region

By Chin Yee Chan, WorldFish

ASEAN

The fisheries and aquaculture sectors in the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), provide income, employment opportunities, poverty alleviation, and improved food and nutrition security for the region. Extending the previous work from the Fish to 2030 report with the effort of updating parameters of the IMPACT fish model in consultation with regional experts and stakeholders, this WorldFish/IFPRI working paper highlights the business-as-usual projections of fish supply, net trade, prices, consumption, and nutrition intake from fish to 2050. Fish production in the ASEAN region will likely to grow faster than the regional population growth, benefitting the region both by improved food and nutrition security and economic opportunities.

Both aquaculture and capture fisheries production in the ASEAN will continue to grow. Capture fisheries continue to be the dominant fish supply by 2050, while aquaculture will supply more than half of fish for human consumption in coming decade. Regional net exports will continue to increase. Real prices of wild fish will grow slightly faster than farmed fish. Recognizing the complementary roles between capture fisheries and aquaculture sectors, policies need to focus not only on promoting aquaculture expansion, but also to strengthen regional fisheries governance and management to ensure sustainable growth of both sectors.

Download the paper here.

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