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Strategic Research Areas

Ensuring Sustainable Food Production

As resource scarcity, climate change, and dietary changes impact food production, understanding the challenges ahead and developing innovative technologies and well-targeted policies can help address food security and poverty sustainably.

IFPRI presented projections of climate change impacts on global food security at the UN Conference of the Parties (COP22) and at the Global Landscapes Forum in Marrakech in November 2016. Working together with Global Futures & Strategic Foresight partners in 14 CGIAR centers, IFPRI is contributing to a suite of biophysical and socioeconomic models to assess possible responses to climate-related impacts.

Changes in diets and food availability related to climate change will increase annual deaths by 529,000 worldwide by 2050, according to the widely quoted Lancet article “Global and Regional Health Effects of Future Food Production under Climate Change.” IFPRI researchers collaborated with Oxford University on the article, which used IFPRI’s IMPACT model to predict changes in food production.

Economics of Land Degradation and Improvement: A Global Assessment for Sustainable Development points to the severe impacts of land degradation, particularly on the rural poor. Based on 12 case studies, the analysis finds that sustainable land management can be enhanced through better governance, land tenure security, and market access. Book chapters have been downloaded over 120,000 times, and the book is informing the UN Environment Programme’s latest Global Environment Outlook.

Through the Program for Biosafety Systems, IFPRI helps build the enabling environments and regulatory capacity needed for developing biotech crops and products. In Tanzania, the program provided training for the National Biosafety Committee, which issued the first permit for a field trial, now underway, for drought-tolerant Bt maize.

New research conducted under the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia demonstrates how weather index insurance, soil health information, and high-frequency crowdsourced data can support promotion and adoption of more resilient, productivity-enhancing technologies in India and Bangladesh. Related work in Ethiopia under the Developing Local Extension Capacity project demonstrates the potential for using localized video content in extension efforts to promote similar technologies.