Reducing exposure of global food systems to climate and concentration risks
Our agricultural systems are extremely concentrated. Only four crops provide as much as 60% of the world’s total calorie supply. Majority of these crops is produced and exported from only a handful of countries – for example, 94% of soy exports come from only 5 countries.
They are also extremely vulnerable to climate change. These agricultural breadbaskets are also the most exposed to climate change impacts, which are already manifesting all over the world and about to become much worse than anyone (including experts) expects. According to our climate modeling, we expect a 437% increase in the occurrence droughts and 182% increase in the occurrence of precipitation deluges. These types of events may happen all at once and already in the 2020s.
This is not a developing country problem. Our analysis shows that both developed and developing countries are at risk, as climate change will also impact trade routes, financial centers and geopolitically important countries, possibly increasing migration pressures in the process.
Our current food systems are not designed to withstand or deal with these types of problems. Our main response to shocks are food security systems. However, these do not provide actionable intelligence outside chronically food insecure countries and is unlikely to produce breakthroughs that address these concentration risks.
What is the solution? We are developing a clearer picture of these problems and working on alternative solutions based on that picture. Our ultimate objectives are to develop investment models to enhance resilience and innovation in both crop and fertilizer production, and improve the coverage, quality and dissemination of climate risk and food security assessments. Get in touch with us if you want to know more about or support our work.