Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Production efficiency/intensity

6 February 2014

Farmagaddeon describes the effects of livestock intensification (“factory farming”) around the world. It makes the case against industrialised agriculture arguing that it affects not only the welfare of farmed animals but also increasingly our countryside, health and the quality of our food all around the world.

6 February 2014

A growing imbalance between phosphorus and nitrogen fertilizer use in Africa could lead to crop yield reductions of nearly 30% by 2050, according to a new study from researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

28 January 2014

This report from the Swedish WWF's Ecological footprint unit provides a mapping of current scenarios, ongoing work and a compilation of knowledge on sustainable production and consumption of food.

28 January 2014

The report Save and grow: Cassava is a 140 page guide for farmers and policy makers alike, showing how “Save and Grow” can help cassava growers avoid the risks of intensification, while realizing the crop’s potential for producing higher yields. This in turn, is described as a pathway for alleviating hunger and rural poverty, and contributing to national economic development. This is the first in a series of guides on the practical application of FAO’s ecosystem-based model of agriculture, which aims at improving productivity while conserving natural resources.

28 January 2014

In this article, researchers consider the impacts of climate mitigation efforts on biodiversity and suggest that the negative consequences could in fact be equal to or exceed the direct effects of climate change on biodiversity. Looking specifically at one of the most likely human responses to curb climate change effects in agriculture - land use - the researchers analyse how changes in agricultural farming practices could impact conservation lands.

28 January 2014

A series of studies aiming at assessing and improving agricultural economic models have been published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and in a Special Issue of the journal Agricultural Economics. These represent the findings of a major international program “The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement project” (AgMIP) – an effort to produce improved integrated crop, climate and economic models. The AgMIP project links climate, crop, and economic modelling communities with cutting-edge information technology and aggregate crop model outputs as inputs to regional and global economic models. In doing so it is possible to determine regional vulnerabilities, changes in comparative advantage, price effects, and potential adaptation strategies in the agricultural sector.

20 January 2014

This paper investigates whether current yield trajectories are adequate to achieve the production increases that many forecasts suggest are needed on existing farmland. The results indicate that the majority of global cereal crops such as rice, wheat and corn may have reached their maximum possible yields. Six statistical models were analysed to identifying the most appropriate shape of historical yield trend and the analysis makes it possible to estimate in which countries and regions yields are flat, rising, declining or plateauing.

7 October 2013

A new centre has been set up in the UK, which aims to reduce the energy used across food production, taking a whole system approach. The RCUK Centre for Sustainable Energy Use in Food Chains (CSEF) will examine where and how to make savings in food production:  its research outputs are intended to support energy efficiency policy and contribute to cutting carbon use and GHG emissions. One of its primary research themes is the simulation of energy and resource flows in the food chain, from manufacture and transport of food through to the energetic requirements of refrigeration in supermarkets.

26 September 2013

With an anticipated expansion in demand for food in urban areas due to the world’s growing urban population, urban agricultural innovations are portrayed in this article as possible solutions. Aeroponic farming systems are one example: these systems allow for clean, efficient, and rapid food production. The crops, which protected from seasonal changes in weather, can be planted and harvested year round without interruption and without contamination from soil, pesticides, and residues. Because aeroponic growing environments are clean and sterile, the chances of spreading plant disease and infection are less common than in soil-based systems.

26 September 2013

FAO published a new report in September 2013 with revised estimates for GHG emissions from livestock. The “Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock:  a global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities” report and two accompanying technical reports are long awaited since they include an updated estimate of the livestock sector’s GHG contribution -  putting the figure at a lower 14.5 percent of global human-caused emissions, compared to 18 percent in the previous report from 2006.

17 September 2013

This paper addresses the following key question: How much land-based greenhouse gas mitigation can be achieved without compromising food security and environmental goals?

Taking the AFOLU sector (Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use), the paper starts by distinguishing and quantifying the range of options for action on the a. supply-side (improved management of biomass, soils, livestock, and energy use in agriculture and forestry) and b. the demand-side (reducing food waste, limiting over-consumption, and shifting to less resource-intense diets) before considering some of the trade offs and interactions among the different options.

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