New agricultural methods could halve food price inflation

  • New research by The International Food Policy Research Institute has found that resource conservation technologies could halve increases in food prices.
  • If drought resistant varieties for rain-fed crops are fully adopted over the next 30 years this could increase maize, wheat and rice outputs by 27%, 30% and 10% by 2050, respectively. Integrated soil fertility management and nitrogen use efficiency could bring yet further increases.
  • Under current climate change scenarios, prices are predicted to rise by between 65% for rice and 90% for maize. The new report suggests that these increases could almost be halved if measures are fully implemented.
  • Contrary to the expectation that infrastructure development would accelerate land disturbance, IFPRI researchers also found areas with highly dense roads also had a lower rate of land degradation and deforestation, this was due to strong regulation by institutions managing forests and natural resources in these areas.

The research draws attention to the enormous potential for yield and efficiency gains with implications for both quantity of food production and providing affordable food. However, these benefits will require new techniques and crop varieties to be fully implemented for the greatest improvements to be achieved.

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About Julia Chatterton

Systems modeller with a particular expertise in food, farming and agricultural systems. Working with life cycle assessment methods for over 4 years to assess and analyse the environmental burdens associated with food and other production systems.
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