Tracing the future of food systems transformation with foresight analysis

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Manila, Philippines (23 October 2023) – Forward-thinking policies focusing on the impacts of recent political and environmental shocks and addressing gender and social inclusion vulnerabilities are important in sustaining local and global solutions to food and nutrition security under climate change. This was the theme of the Foresight to Accelerate Food Systems Transformatio n side event at the recently concluded 6th International Rice Congress.

Foresight analysis is the act of thinking about the future to guide decisions that are being made today. It may involve a wide range of qualitative and quantitative tools and approaches depending on the time horizon and the level of complexity and uncertainty of the particular question of interest.

For example, based on data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), rice production is considered more stable than maize and wheat. Further, projecting that climate change would exacerbate its environmental effects on the agricultural industry, “The land allocated for rice will be the same, but there will be a decline in the per capita availability of land,” said Dr. Harold Glenn Valera, an Economic Modeler at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and one of the event presenters.

Aside from the lack of available areas, rice cultivation is the third highest emitter of non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas (GHG) in the agricultural sector.

Source: What do we know about the future of rice in relation to food system transformation?

Political instability is also a driving force to global inflation, according to Professor Ashok Mishra of the Morrison School of Agribusiness at Arizona State University. For instance, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine triggered global disruptions in markets for key food crops and fertilizers. It caused a…

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