Enhanced modelling of sustainable food and nutrition security: Food supply and use of scarce resources

Enhanced modelling of sustainable food and nutrition security: Food supply and use of scarce resources

It is the vision of SUSFANS to contribute to a better understanding of the European food system and to provide tools for policy makers to advance with respect to Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security in Europe. All three dimensions of sustainability – social, environmental and economic – are addressed in the project in a holistic, integrative approach building upon metrics, models and foresight tools.

In order to explore the impacts of interventions on the food system, SUSFANS employs a set of well-established long-run models (CAPRI, GLOBIOM and MAGNET). To further enhance their ability to assess impacts of policy and other shocks on Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security and to provide the relevant metrics identified in the project for appropriately measuring state and changes of Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security, the long run models are further developed in the course of SUSFANS.

Long term models’ enhancement for sustainable food and nutrition security

In their latest work, SUSFANS researcher specifically report on the long-term models’ enhancements for modelling impacts on Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security regarding food supply and the use of scarce resources. Their paper describes model changes and extensions promised in the description of work and additional ones decided upon in the course of the project.

Specifically, the developments for the models CAPRI and GLOBIOM are covered, as these are the two models with a comparative advantage in representing the food supply and resource use. Their research reports on model-specific enhancements related to CAPRI and GLOBIOM and on newly developed fish modules for both modelling systems.

Model enhancements in other areas are covered in the upcoming report D9.2 (Food consumption and nutrition of households) and report D9.4 (Commodity and nutrient flows, supply chains). CAPRI-specific developments target a more realistic representation of the regional heterogeneities with respect to fertilizer responses.

Statistical analyses of yield gaps in European regions provided earlier by work package 4 are exploited to develop more appropriate, region-specific potentials for yield increases under intensification scenarios. A successful implementation improves upon nutrient-related sustainability assessments on the supply side.

Introducing micronutrients to the product-based accounting system to CAPRI

Closer to the diet side of the food system is another CAPRI development introducing micronutrients to the product-based accounting system. Previously, the model only covered calorie, fat, and protein contents.

The micronutrient accounting offers a significant step in making CAPRI model results relevant not only for food security, but also for nutrition security.

GLOBIOM with crop intensification and expansion responses

GLOBIOM-specific developments target to improve model behavior with respect to crop intensification and crop expansion responses. By employing new comprehensive crop-modelling results and new empirical estimates of crop supply elasticities, the knowledge base underlying the model’s processes determining cropping levels and intensities is thoroughly revised.

Moreover, a demanding calibration methodology is implemented to appropriately reconcile the new knowledge on model parameters with observed farmer’s decisions. This substantial re-parameterization of GLOBIOM’s crop supply specification leads to a more accurate quantification of a number of metrics related to production, resource use and environmental sustainability. For example, the level and spatial differentiation of nitrate leaching and irrigation management improves considerably.

Teach a model to fish… fish modules for CAPRI and GLOBIOM

An increased fish consumption substituting for meat-based protein sources is generally considered healthier and consequently relevant for the analysis of nutrition security. Observed recent expansions of this sector come from an expansion of aquaculture and not anymore from captures due to their natural constraints.

Further future increases in fish consumption will inevitably continue to boost the share of aquaculture in overall fish production and raise questions regarding environmental sustainability but also with respect to competition for feed (and indirectly land). The developments of fish modules for CAPRI and GLOBIOM consequently contributes to the core of the SUSFANS objectives addressing food as well as nutrition security issues. Using available global databases, both models were able to develop and implement fish modules fitting to the specific structure of the modelling systems. Soon first scenario simulation incorporating the fish modules can be tested and the full-fledged application will be possible for the main body of foresight analysis foreseen in work package 10.