Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Production efficiency/intensity

28 June 2016

Nanotechnology – the designing of ultra-small particles – is part of the evolving science of precision agriculture, and could potentially solve some of the world’s most pressing problems at the food-energy-water nexus as it requires fewer natural resources and water, and enhances plant nutritional values. 

9 June 2016

This report, Food Systems and Natural Resources”developed by the International Resource Panel (IRP) looks at the use and management of natural resources that go into the food system, the consequences of that management and the options to improve the efficiency with which they are managed. 

9 June 2016

This paper published in Nature Plants finds that if tropical farming intensifies, major additions of phosphorus to soils will be needed

1 April 2016

This article in Nature Climate Change titled Cropping frequency and area response to climate variability can exceed yield response, suggests that previous studies may have underestimated the impact of climate change on the world’s food supply.

2 December 2015

This discussion paper entitled The Triangle: The Evolution and Future of Industrial Animal Agriculture in the U.S., China, and Brazil provides an analysis of the modern livestock industry and of so called factory farming. The paper focuses on the connections between the three most important countries in today´s meat and feed industries: the United States, China, and Brazil. The underlying emphasis of the paper is that as living standards improve in emerging economies, rising consumption of animal products is one of the factors fuelling the expansion of Western-style, large-scale, intensive animal farming and feed crop monoculture.

18 September 2015

We all know that the food system today is undermining the environment upon which future food production depends. But while we generally agree that we need do something to make food systems more sustainable, we do not necessarily agree about what, exactly, should be done. This paper explores these questions by considering how stakeholders think about efficiency in relation to animal production and consumption, both terrestrial and aquatic. It takes as its starting point three broadly discernible views. 

3 September 2015

This paper, published in OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers is aimed at showcasing the growing evidence base on supply-side (agricultural) greenhouse gas mitigation for reducing the emissions intensity of agriculture while maintaining or increasing production. It does this by reviewing 65 recent international studies of cost-effectiveness covering 181 individual activities and by explaining some of the key concepts involved in this field.

31 July 2015

These two articles in Foreign Policy discuss the role of power and agency to solve our global water and food problems. In the first article “Don’t Let Food Be the Problem - Producing too much food is what starves the planet” Professor Olivier De Schutter reflects on lessons learnt during his work over the past 6 years as UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food. He argues that international action cannot solve the food crises without local responses. He writes “These interconnected systems of overproduction won’t feed the world.

16 July 2015

This report summarises research from scientific, policy and industrial experiences on energy use in the EU food sector. It acknowledges that while the EU has made progress in incorporating renewable energy across the economy, the share of renewables in the food system remains relatively small. The report discusses the way ahead and highlights the main challenges to be faced in decreasing energy use and in increasing the renewable energy share in the food sector.

18 June 2015

This report by the UK’s Land Use Policy Group discusses The Role of Agroecology in Sustainable Intensification and highlights agroecology as a method to safeguard UK food security. The report was prepared by the Organic Research Centre in collaboration with the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust.

18 June 2015

This paper provides a useful overview of the effects that measures to reduce GHGs from the livestock sector can have upon the welfare of farmed animals.  It argues that most approaches geared at seek to increasing the intensity of production via changes in breeding, feeding and housing may increase productivity per unit of GHG s emitted but they come at the expense of animal health and wellbeing.

20 May 2015

In this article in Science, researchers warn that imported fish sold in European and North American shops may be less sustainably caught than claims suggest. The experts argue that projects aimed at stimulating sustainable fishing in developing countries often don’t deliver on their goals and therefore, in order to prevent that the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) quality label for sustainable fish is undermined,  requirements for market access need to be more rigorous.  

29 April 2015

This report is published by the Chicago Council for Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization committed to educating the public—and influencing the public discourse - on global issues of the day. In the report’s introduction they write: “In the effort to produce enough calories to sustain the global population, we have neglected the importance of nutrition. Food systems today simply are not structured to provide the most nutritious food possible to the greatest number of people. We need a new approach to address not just the quantity of food to be produced, but also its quality.”

19 April 2015

Sustainable intensification is receiving growing attention as a way to address the challenge of feeding an increasingly populous and resource-constrained world. But are we asking too much of it? Nearly 20 years after the concept was developed, this briefing revisits the term and asks what sustainable intensification is — a useful guiding framework for raising agricultural productivity on existing arable land in a sustainable manner; and what it is not -a paradigm for achieving food security overall.

19 April 2015

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) reports that the Australian beef industry has reduced its environmental footprint over the past 30 years. The results are presented in a new paper in Agricultural Systems, and in a press-release MLA writes that:

19 April 2015

This paper argues that high-performance computing and genetic engineering that boost the photosynthetic efficiency of plants offers the best hope of increasing crop yields enough to feed a growing world population by 2050. It points out that we now have unprecedented computational resources that allow us to model every stage of photosynthesis and we can thus determine where the bottlenecks are. Advances in genetic engineering enable us to augment or circumvent steps that impede efficiency.

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