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Global Futures project launched

The Socioeconomics Program (SEP) is collaborating in a new project aimed to evaluate promising technologies, investment, and policy options for improving agricultural productivity and global food security.

The Global Futures for Agriculture project, launched in early March 2010, is led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and builds upon the already existing economic model IMPACT (International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade). This model has been used in the past for projecting future production, consumption, and trade of key agricultural commodities while taking into account the effects of climate change, water availability, population growth, urbanization, and other major drivers of global change. The Global Futures for Agriculture project improves upon this model by including location-specific biophysical data; current and future technology options; climate risk; and the impact of potential agricultural investments on global food supply and demand, food prices, economic growth, and poverty alleviation.

The SEP will play a major role in assessing the future outlooks for maize and wheat, and will work on improving database information and creating model scenarios for these two crops. Crop and water availability simulation models will also complement modeling of climate change risks on crop yields and production. All will be important for refining and calibrating the IMPACT model.

A new associate scientist to be based in Nairobi, Kenya, will be hired to work with other scientists on this project, and will closely collaborate with CIMMYT breeders, agronomists, and economists to improve the center’s foresight on alternative futures for maize and wheat in terms of improving global food security and system sustainability. Additionally, CIMMYT will work with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Center for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) to set up a High Performance Cluster of computers able to run the IMPACT model in Nairobi.