Goals of This Study

Given the many options and lack of direction, significant improvements in the quality, transparency, and objectivity of strategic investment decisions about agricultural technologies and associated policies are urgently needed. This book seeks to fill this gap. It contributes to the understanding of future benefits from alternative agricultural technologies by assessing future scenarios for the potential impact and benefits of these technologies on yield growth and production, food security, the demand for food, and agricultural trade. The future pathways for agricultural technology generation, adoption, and use will have major effects on agricultural production, food consumption, food security, trade, and environmental quality. Intrtroductictiction 3 in developing countries. Comprehensive impact scenario analysis can contribute to understanding the role of alternative technologies considered in the context of broader agricultural sector policies and investment strategies.

The overall objective of this book is to identify the future impact of alternative agricultural technology strategies for food supply, demand, prices, and food security for the three key staple crops: maize, rice, and wheat. We have done this by (1) analyzing the potential payoffs (yield growth and food security) of alternative agricultural technologies at global and regional levels, taking into account the spatial variability of crop production, climate, soil, and projected climate change; and (2) assessing the market-level consequences of broad adoption of yield-enhancing crop technologies at regional and global scales, as mediated through impacts on commodity markets and trade. We focus our analysis of agricultural technologies on countries and regions that are at risk of hunger (as measured by the 2013 Global Hunger Index), as well as on the world’s breadbaskets.

To achieve these goals, we use the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) crop model to simulate changes in yields for rice, maize, and wheat following the adoption of different technologies, agricultural practices, improved varieties, or a combination of these, compared to a business-as-usual baseline. The results of DSSAT are then fed into IFPRI’s IMPACT model (a partial equilibrium global agricultural sector model; see Chapter 3), using adoption pathways that consider profitability, initial costs and capital, risk-reduction, and complexity of the technology. IMPACT is then used to estimate global food supply and demand, food trade, and international food prices, as well as the resultant number of people at risk of food insecurity. In both models, the effects of the technologies are simulated under two alternative climate change scenarios.

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