Exploring the impacts of alternative investments on poverty, hunger, and environment


by Evgeniya Anisimova | June 9, 2017

Planting seeds of knowledge. Photo credit: X. Fonseca/CIMMYT

The recent report Quantitative Foresight Modeling to Inform the CGIAR Research Portfolio released by the Global Futures and Strategic Foresight (GFSF) team (part of PIM's research flagship 1) seeks to help the CGIAR centers and research programs, as well as donors and other decision makers to assess the overall impact and benefits of investing in international and national agricultural research programs.

The report provides a quantitative assessment of the impacts of alternative investment options in agricultural research, resource management, and infrastructure on the CGIAR’s System Level Outcomes relating to poverty (SLO1), food and nutrition security (SLO2), and natural resources and ecosystem services (SLO3). Impacts to 2050 are analyzed in the context of changes in population, income, technology, and climate.

Key messages from the analysis:

  1. Demographic change and economic growth in the group of developing countries will result in significant increases in the demand for food in the coming decades
  2. Food and nutrition security are projected to improve over the 2010-2050 period
  3. Climate change reduces food and nutrition security
  4. Climate change impacts vary geographically, with agricultural trade as an important buffer
  5. The CGIAR research portfolio can make important differences to sustainable agricultural production systems, food security and nutrition, enhanced by increased investments in NARs agricultural research, improved water management, and infrastructure
  6. Alternative investment options involve different synergies and tradeoffs
  7. Other complementary investments will also be needed

"Global population will reach more than nine billion people by 2050 and, together with income growth, will put pressure on food demand. Rapid income growth and urbanization will have profound effects on diets and on patterns of agricultural production, including changes in diets to convenience foods and fast foods; increased consumption of fruits and vegetables; growing demand for sugar, fats, and oils; and rapid growth in meat consumption and therefore demand for feed grains for other livestock feeds. Growing and evolving food demands will put pressure on food production. Sustainable food production growth faces challenges from climate change with higher temperatures and changing precipitation patterns as well as likely increased weather variability. In addition, beyond climate change, there is limited scope for expansion of crop and pastureland, continuing competition from biofuels, and growing water scarcity. Weakness in value chains to deliver quality food to consumers can also constrain sustainable growth. This report assesses the potential for alternative agricultural and rural sector investments to meet these challenges and more sustainably produce food to improve food security."


Rosegrant, Mark W.; Sulser, Timothy B.; Mason-D’Croz, Daniel; Cenacchi, Nicola; Nin-Pratt, Alejandro; Dunston, Shahnila; Zhu, Tingju; Ringler, Claudia; Wiebe, Keith D.; Robinson, Sherman; Willenbockel, Dirk; Xie, Hua; Kwon, Ho-Young; Johnson, Timothy; Thomas, Timothy S.; Wimmer, Florian; Schaldach, Rüdiger; Nelson, Gerald C.; and Willaarts, Barbara 2017. Quantitative foresight modeling to inform the CGIAR research portfolio. Project Report for USAID. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). https://ebrary.ifpri.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15738coll2/id/131144

The analysis was led by IFPRI with contributions from colleagues in all 15 CGIAR Centers and other institutions, and with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development, the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Findings from this study will be discussed by Mark Rosegrant during our next webinar on June 28. See more information about the webinar here and register to join the conversation.