Global Futures for Agriculture

Using 'virtual crops' to assess the social and economic impact of new agricultural technologies ensure new crops are ready to hit the ground running. Photo: N.Palmer (CIAT)
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The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) launched Global Futures for Agriculture, to improve agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability in developing countries. Focused on evaluating promising technologies, investments, and policy reforms, the effort is supported with major funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and CCAFS.

The challenge

Climate change poses daunting challenges to the future food production. Crops and livestock are susceptible to a variety of physical and biological stresses, including heat, drought, flooding, increased salinity, pests, and diseases. These stresses are likely to be exacerbated in places with higher temperatures and changing precipitation patterns due to climate change.

About this work

To help determine which technologies will have the best outcomes, Global Futures Project scientists are growing “virtual crops”. Using state of the art modeling, the project team identifies promising agricultural technologies, such as special traits to adapt to drought and utilize inputs more efficiently, and creates “virtual” plant and animal varieties with those traits. They then test these promising technologies for economic and social consequences under a range of plausible scenarios to see how the new technology might contribute to human wellbeing and sustainability.

Key Links and Resources

Visit the Global Futures Project website
reating climate models that make sense to farmers