The type and effectiveness of agricultural technologies are highly debated, and the debates are often polarized. Technology options are many, but transparent evidence-based information has been inconclusive or scarce. This book endeavors to respond to the challenge of growing food sustainably without degrading our natural resource base. The authors use a groundbreaking modeling approach that combines comprehensive process-based modeling of agricultural technologies with sophisticated global food demand, supply, and trade modeling. This approach assesses the yield and food impact through 2050 of a broad range of agricultural technologies under varying assumptions of climate change for the three key staple crops: maize, rice, and wheat.
Geared toward policymakers in ministries of agriculture and national agricultural research institutes, as well as multilateral development banks and the private sector, Food Security in a World of Natural Resource Scarcity provides guidance on various technology strategies and which to pursue as competition grows for land, water, and energy across productive sectors and even increasingly across borders. The book is an important tool for targeting investment decisions today and going forward.
Agriculture is extremely vulnerable to climate change. Higher temperatures eventually reduce yields of desirable crops while encouraging weed and pest proliferation. Changes in precipitation patterns increase the likelihood of short-run crop failures and long-run production declines. Although there will be gains in some crops in some regions of the world, the overall impacts of climate change on agriculture are expected to be negative, threatening global food security.
Populations in the developing world, which are already vulnerable and food insecure, are likely to be the most seriously affected. In 2005, nearly half of the economically active population in developing countries2.5 billion peoplerelied on agriculture for its livelihood. Today, 75 percent of the worlds poor live in rural areas.
This Food Policy Report presents research results that quantify the climate-change impacts mentioned above, assesses the consequences for food security, and estimates the investments that would offset the negative consequences for human well-being.
This analysis brings together, for the first time, detailed modeling of crop growth under climate change with insights from an extremely detailed global agriculture model, using two climate scenarios to simulate future climate. The results of the analysis suggest that agriculture and human well-being will be negatively affected by climate change:In developing countries, climate change will cause yield declines for the most important crops. South Asia will be particularly hard hit. Climate change will have varying effects on irrigated yields across regions, but irrigated yields for all crops in South Asia will experience large declines. Climate change will result in additional price increases for the most important agricultural cropsrice, wheat, maize, and soybeans. Higher feed prices will result in higher meat prices. As a result, climate change will reduce the growth in meat consumption slightly and cause a more substantial fall in cereals consumption. Calorie availability in 2050 will not only be lower than in the noclimate-change scenarioit will actually decline relative to 2000 levels throughout the developing world. By 2050, the decline in calorie availability will increase child malnutrition by 20 percent relative to a world with no climate change. Climate change will eliminate much of the improvement in child malnourishment levels that would occur with no climate change. Thus, aggressive agricultural productivity investments of US$7.17.3 billion are needed to raise calorie consumption enough to offset the negative impacts of climate change on the health and well-being of children.