CGIAR centres and research programmes combine forces to reduce the damage of banana disease in Uganda

By Bioversity International/RTB —

(Photo Credit: A.Vezina, Bioversity)

Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) provide a major source of food and income for over 30 million people in Eastern and Central Africa (ECA). Uganda produces an estimated 10 million tonnes annually valued at about US$550 million. Most ECA bananas are domestically consumed with the highest global per capita consumption of over 200 kg. Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW), a bacterial disease, emerged in Uganda in 2001 and has since proved to have a devastating effect on banana production, with up to 100% loss if no management practices are adopted. To control the disease, farmers can adopt a package of practices, including single diseased stem removal and cleaning of tools to prevent contamination. Alternatively, resistant cultivars are under development. Several policy interventions are thus available but it is not clear which will have the greatest impact on curbing the spread of BXW while minimizing the costs.

Bioversity International, under the umbrella of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas, organized a workshop in Kampala, Uganda, 1–2 February 2018, to understand better the socio-economic impact of BXW spread and quantify the role of policy interventions. The goals of the workshop were to:

  1. Finalize and validate the conceptual framework describing relationships between different elements of BXW spread and its socio-economic consequences, linking different scales – from farm to country levels
  2. Finalize and validate research questions of the study
  3. Identify what data, methods and models are available and what resources are needed to fill in the missing elements
  4. Generate a framework for linking the models
  5. Formulate scenarios for simulation modeling, which would represent possible alternative future (until 2050) developments to inform policymakers
  6. Roadmap tasks and deliverables

The research will answer the question: What will be the socio-economic impact of BXW spread in Uganda until 2050 if there are no policy interventions, and under different interventions?

This highly complex question requires an integrated modelling approach which can be modelled to see the impact of different interventions on banana production, producers’ revenue, market prices, consumption and nutrition, and link them to costs for different actors, starting from the government and ending with farmers. To address such different areas of focus and implications at multiple scales, from the farm to (inter)national level, the research brings together a highly multidisciplinary team hailing from different CGIAR research centres, different disciplines (agronomists, economists, plant pathologists, mathematicians), different CGIAR research programmes (CRP), different flagships within the roots, tubers and bananas (RTB) CRP, together with representatives of Makerere University and the National Agricultural Research Organization of Uganda.

This innovative research links various models in order to understand the economic impact of pest and disease spread. We start with the dynamic global partial equilibrium model – IMPACT, developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM). This is an economic simulation model for analysis of long-term agricultural markets and food security. A crop disease mapping model based on statistical analysis of survey data will be combined with a mathematical model for disease spread dynamics, in order to inform the IMPACT model about the dynamics of BXW spread and its consequences for yield loss. Additionally, we will systematically assess costs borne by different actors in the food system.

By combining expertise from RTB research clusters on resilient crops, banana bacterial wilt, improved livelihoods at scale, foresight and impact assessment, and sustainable intensification/ diversification, and linking those with the IMPACT model, we have the potential to make innovative breakthroughs that can truly make a difference in the management of the devastating BXW disease and defend Uganda’s economic base and food security.

Read the original article and learn more about Banana Xanthomonas Wilt on the Bioversity International website. 

This research is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas and is supported by CGIAR Funders. Additional support, for the IMPACT modelling part was provided by the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM) through the Global Futures and Strategic Foresight project.

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.


Training workshop for the National Agricultural Investment Plans appraisal and design process for Sub-Saharan Africa: Introduction to Foresight Analysis

By Tim Sulser (IFPRI)

With several members of AGRODEP and governmental/university researchers from Nigeria, Uganda, and the Ivory Coast, in September 2016 I led a successful training workshop focused on using strategic foresight analyses to inform the review and development process of country-level National Agricultural Investment Plans (NAIPs).


We first worked to develop a common understanding of the basic theory behind using scenarios and structural modeling to generate an evidence- and science-based perspective aimed at informing the agricultural/food policy process. Afterwards, we “dove into the deep end” of foresight analysis with a hands-on practical exercise to jointly develop our own scenarios for possible future trajectories of the agricultural economies of Sub-Saharan Africa. These scenarios focused on (1) the impact of violent conflict on the agricultural sector and (2) the potential impact of increased investment in agricultural research and development if more of Sub-Saharan Africa were to achieve the goals set out in the CAADP agreement.

This workshop was just a first step along the path to build national and regional level capacity for using strategic foresight studies to inform agricultural and food policy processes for the participants. We look forward to future interactions!

This workshop was supported by IFPRI’s West and Central Africa Office (WCAO) in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency. The foresight work upon which this workshop was based was supported by funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the CGIAR Research Programs on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) and Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) to GFSF.


Building capacity and a forum for collaboration

by Kindie Tesfaye (CIMMYT), Evgeniya Anisimova (PIM)

group-work-300x169As part of its work under PIM (Flagship 1) and the Global Futures & Strategic Foresight (GFSF) project, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) organized a five-day training workshop titled “Crop and Bioeconomic Modeling under Uncertain Climate”. The training took place on 7-11 December 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The workshop brought together representatives of Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) and West and Central Africa Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF), as well as researchers from agricultural research institutes and universities from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Participants were trained to apply crop and bioeconomic models allowing to estimate biophysical and economic impacts of climate variability and change and to assess different adaptation options. The tools they worked with included the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT), the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM), and Gtree (GAMS). The training involved plenary discussions, group work, and individual hands-on exercises.

This workshop was a follow up of a similar training conducted in November 2014 in Addis Ababa. A third training is planned for 2016. The series is designed to contribute to building of a core regional group of researchers who appreciate and use crop and bioeconomic models in addressing the impacts of climate change in Africa, and to create a forum for experience sharing and collaboration.

>> Read more

IFPRI and partners share insights on climate change and food security in Paris

By Keith Wiebe (IFPRI)

circus_sidebanner_home_pastIFPRI researchers Mark Rosegrant, Keith Wiebe and Alex de Pinto led a session (“Up and down the scales of time and place: Integrating global trends and local decisions to make the world more food-secure by 2050”) on December 5 at the Global Landscapes Forum on the margins of COP21 in Paris. The session explored climate change impacts and solutions at global, regional and country scales, drawing on new research to analyze policy options that promote healthy growth of the agricultural sector and food security in a changing climate. Participants Mercedita Sombilla (Director ANRES, National Economic and Development Authority, Office of the President, Philippines), Kirit N Shelat (Executive Chairman, Indian National Council for Climate Change Sustainable Development and Public Leadership), and Rodrigo Suarez Castaño (Climate Change Director, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Colombia) also shared insights and experiences from the national level. >> Read more

Exploring Indonesian aquaculture futures: new report from WorldFish

By Nhuong Tran (WorldFish), Evgeniya Anisimova (PIM)

AquaculWorldFish-report-aquaculture-futures-271x300ture is the fastest-growing food production sector globally, with production projected to double within the next 15–20 years. Future growth of aquaculture is essential to providing sustainable supplies of fish in national, regional and global fish food systems; creating jobs; and maintaining fish at affordable levels for resource-poor consumers. To ensure that the anticipated growth of aquaculture remains both economically and ecologically sustainable, we need to better understand the likely patterns of growth, as well as the opportunities and challenges that these trends present. This knowledge will enable us to better prioritize investments that will help ensure the sustainable development of the sector.

In Indonesia, WorldFish and partners have applied a unique methodology to evaluate growth trajectories for aquaculture under various scenarios, as well as the opportunities and challenges these represent. The analysis indicates that aquaculture will overtake capture fisheries as the major source of fish in Indonesia before 2030 and that investment in aquaculture will be essential in order to increase domestic fish supplies and consumption, maintain affordable fish prices for domestic consumers, and sustain the contribution fish makes to Indonesian food and nutritional security.

See more finding on the CGIAR Policies, Institutions and Markets blog here, and read the full report here.


WorldFish-report-Envisioning-possible-futures-for-fish-production-in-Indonesia-cover-287x300Envisioning possible futures for fish production in Indonesia

In addition, a related report released by WorldFish summarizes the results of a systematic effort to explore possible futures for aquaculture and fisheries in Indonesia. The work described is part of a larger effort that seeks to develop a shared vision for the sectors that 1) aligns public and private investments to foster growth and economic sustainability; 2) reduces environmental impacts and improves efficiency; 3) increases access by small and medium enterprises to the financial and technical assistance necessary to transition to more sustainable practices.

See a summary of the report on the CGIAR Policies, Institutions and Markets blog here, and read the full report here.


IAAE symposium explores linkages between global and regional economic models

By Sika Gbegbelegbe (IITA)

The triennial conference of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) provides a platform for the Global Futures and Strategic Foresight (GFSF) teams of the CGIAR centers to showcase their work. The first symposium organized by these teams was on ‘Bio-economic modeling to assess options for enhancing food security under climate change in the developing world’ and it took place during the 29th IAAE conference in Brazil in 2012. The teams came again together in 2015 to organize a second symposium on ‘Interpreting results from using bio-economic modeling for global and regional ex ante impact assessment’ at the 30th IAAE conference which took place in Milan on August 8-14, 2015.

Whereas the first symposium focused on the structure of the bio-economic modeling tools used for ex impact assessment on future global and regional food security, the second symposium put an emphasis on results interpretation. Since 2012, the GFSF teams in the CGIAR centers have applied the global bio-economic modeling tools to:

  • Improve the models by calibrating crop models for standard and promising germplasm (sorghum, maize, wheat, chickpeas, potatoes, and groundnuts) as well as improving the livestock bio-economic module;
  • Quantify the potential impact of climate change on crop-based systems in the developing world; and
  • Quantify the potential impact of promising crop technologies (groundnuts; potatoes; etc.) on future societal welfare

>> Read more

On-going OECD collaboration releases results in EuroChoices

By Daniel Mason-D'Croz (IFPRI)

In ongoing work with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), IFPRI released a new publication in EuroChoices [1] on August 16th aimed at reaching European policy makers. This work built off of last year’eurochoices pics collaboration with OECD, which culminated in an 2014 OECD report on Climate Change Adaptation [2]. The new publication in EuroChoices is coauthored by Ada Ignaciuk of the OECD, as well as Daniel Mason-D’Croz and Shahnila Islam of IFPRI. It extended the irrigation expansion and efficiency scenarios from the first study to non-OECD member countries, and focused the analysis of water scarcity and climate change on agriculture in Europe. This analysis highlighted the challenges confronting Southern Europe, which already experiences water stress and is threatened by increasing water shortages in alternative futures with climate change. The following figure taken from the article illustrates this water challenge, with Southern Europe and the Mediterranean Basin on the whole expected to see declining precipitation.

Changes in annual precipitation in Europe and Mediterranean in 2050 compared to 2005 (% change)


This study’s key findings include:

  • Irrigation efficiency improvements in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean show promise in easing current and future water scarcity
  • In area currently experiencing low or moderate water scarcity, improved irrigation efficiency can relieve future demand pressures and allow for greater conversion of rainfed production to more productive irrigated production
  • Irrigation expansion without improved water-use can lead to declining yields, where new water demands exceed available water for irrigation

To learn more about this study you can read the whole article at:

For more information about this collaborative work please read the CCAFS 2014 annual report highlighting the work. The full OECD report can also be access freely at:

For more information, please contact Daniel Mason-D'Croz (IFPRI).


[1] Ignaciuk, A., D. D'Croz, and S. Islam. (2015), “Better Drip than Flood: Reaping the Benefits of Efficient Irrigation”. EuroChoices, 14: 26–32. doi: 10.1111/1746-692X.12088

[2] Ignaciuk, A. and D. Mason-D'Croz (2014), "Modelling Adaptation to Climate Change in Agriculture", OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 70, OECD Publishing, Paris. DOI: 10.1787/5jxrclljnbxq-en



IFPRI and KREI plan collaborative research on climate change and food security

By Keith Wiebe (IFPRI)

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Korea Rural Economics Institute (KREI) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support collaboration between the two institutions. Collaboration under the MOU will focus on dealing with climate change impacts on regional food and water security in Korea and East Asia, using IFPRI’s International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT) and related research programs as key building blocks. The MOU, covering an initial period of three years, was signed by IFPRI Director-General Shenggen Fan and KREI President Sei-Kyun Choi on July 7, 2015 at IFPRI headquarters in Washington DC.

Please see news in Korean language here:


Left: Dr. Shenggen Fan (IFPRI); Right: Dr. Sei-Kyun Choi (KREI) Photo credit: Milo Mitchell (IFPRI)


Photo credit: Milo Mitchell (IFPRI)


Lloyd’s study on “Food System Shock: The Insurance Impacts of Acute Disruption to Global Food Supply” draws on GFSF research

By Daniel Mason-D'Croz (IFPRI)

Lloyd's studyThe insurance group Lloyd’s recently commissioned the study “Food System Shock: The Insurance Impacts of Acute Disruption to Global Food Supply” to explore some of the potential risks of a series of extreme events on the global food system and the implications this might have on food security and the insurance industry. IFPRI’s IMPACT (International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade) team was invited to participate in a workshop hosted by Lloyd’s in February and to provide quantitative foresight analysis of potential consequences of extreme crop productivity shock events. These scenarios were designed to explore systematic weaknesses in the global food system and raise questions of what could happen if major breakdowns in the system were to occur due to extreme climatic events. For example, one of the scenarios explored the consequences of negative shocks on agriculture caused by a strong warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation, as shown in the following figure. >> Read more