A new foresight tool from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) predicts the future effects of today’s development investments in the food system. With a focus on usability and customization, IFPRI hopes to encourage decision-makers to think about sustainability.
“Foresight tools like this allow us to explore a wide range of possible future scenarios, under conditions that we cannot fully predict”, Rob Vos, Division Director of Markets, Trade and Institutions Division, and Keith Weibe, Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI tell Food Tank. “This helps us anticipate and prepare for an uncertain future by making better-informed decisions today.”
The Global Foresight for Food and Agriculture tool explores the impact of alternative investments in agriculture research and development. It allows users to manipulate different indicators to see the effects of investment strategies across different parts of the food system. IFPRI hopes the ability to explore unique scenarios, both large- and small-scale, will make it a tool for all levels of government and actors within the food system. Their hope is that the tool will give decision-makers the information they need to account for future challenges in food and agriculture.
According to IFPRI, the tool offers an easy-to-understand and flexible way to evaluate future investment and policy proposals in the hope to encourage discussion across a broader range of actors within the food system. The tool is meant to serve as a guide to open conversation amongst policymakers, researchers, private businesses, and other stakeholders who are concerned about the food system, Vos and Weibe tell Food Tank.
The Global Foresight for Food and Agriculture tool is a product of IFPRI’s IMPACT and Food Security Portal (FSP) teams. By tracking water, crop, climate, and economic trends across 160 countries for over 60 commodities, the IMPACT team developed an analysis of how these trends influence productivity, prices, trade, and food security. Using IMPACT analysis, FSP helped create a tool that tests multiple short-, medium-, and long-term agriculture investment scenarios on hunger, production, and productivity through 2050.