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Global-scale assessment of potential future risks of food insecurity

Wenbin Wu, Peng Yang, Huajun Tang, Liangzhi You, Qingbo Zhou, Zhongxin Chen and Ryosuke Shibasaki

Journal of Risk Research, 2011, vol. 14, issue 9, 1143-1160

Abstract: This paper presents an approach of combining biophysical, social, and economic factors for spatially explicit assessment of potential future risks of food insecurity at a global scale over the period of 2000--2020 under a certain scenario. In doing that, two indicators, namely per capita food availability and per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP), were selected to cover the four dimensions of food security, with the former representing the status of food availability and stability, and the latter reflecting the situation of food accessibility and affordability. These two indicators were then linked to an integrated modeling framework. Under this framework, a GIS-based EPIC model was adopted to estimate the potential yields of different crop types under a given biophysical and agricultural management environment, a crop choice decision model was used to model the changes in crop areas through tracking the crop choice decisions, and the IFPSIM model was utilized to evaluate the crop price in the international market. Based on these two indicators, the potential risks of food insecurity were assessed with a spatial resolution of six arc-minutes. The results show that both changes in per capita food availability and changes in per capita GDP during 2000--2020 vary across regions worldwide. Some regions such as China, most eastern European countries, and most southern American countries where there is an increase in per capita food availability or an increase in the capacity to import food between 2000 and 2020 might be able to improve their food security situation. On the contrary, certain regions such as southern Asia and most African countries will likely remain hotspots of food insecurity in the future. In these regions, both the per capita food availability and the capacity of being able to import food will decrease between 2000 and 2020. Although most developed countries will also experience both a decrease in per capita food availability and a decrease in per capita GDP, these countries are likely to be food-secure due to their higher income and purchasing power.

Date: 2011
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DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2011.571794

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