Potentially obtainable yields in the semi-arid tropics

Fischer G, van Velthuizen HT, Hizsnyik E, & Wiberg D (2009). Potentially obtainable yields in the semi-arid tropics. Global Theme on Agroecosystems, Report no. 54. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Patancheru 502 324, Andhra Pradesh, India

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Abstract

Close to one billion people in the world are undernourished and world population is expected to increase by 30% to approximately 9 billion by 2050 while food demand is expected to double. There is increasing competition for land and water resources from other sectors and increasing competitive demand for agricultural products for biofuel production. The UN's Millenium Development Goal of reducing the number of undernourished to less than 420 million by 2015 has placed additional emphasis on the question of how we can secure food for the current and future populations and where the additional food requirement can be produced. One world region that possesses significant potential for improvements in agricultural output is the Semi-Arid Tropics (SAT), which lie primarily in developing countries where agriculture is almost entirely rainfed and largely comprises poor, smallholder farms. Due to a variety of factors including high climatic variability in time and space, poverty and poor education, poor policy and institutional support, and political instability, many areas within the SAT are far from reaching their potential agricultural production. Developing their full agricultural potential would help these areas feed their often rapidly growing populations as well as reduce poverty, boost their economies and provide more food for world markets. In this report, IIASA's Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZ) methodology is applied to assess the agricultural potential of the semi-arid tropics and compare it to currently reported yields. Yield potentials are calculated for rain-fed conditions under high inputs and advanced management to show how much yields can be improved. Furthermore, the AEZ methodology is adjusted to model the impacts on yield potentials of water management techniques such as rainwater harvesting and soil moisture management. Bio-physical constraints to agriculture and the impacts of climate change are also analyzed with AEZ. Results indicate that modeled potential yields under high inputs and advanced management are on average 3.6 times more than the current average yields in countries under the SAT. Soil moisture management and rainwater harvesting practices could add an additional 10% on average to these high input potentials while further reducing the variability in yields and number of failure years. Climate change impacts are slightly positive for the SAT as a whole, but all results in the study vary considerably depending on the crop and the region.

Item Type: Other
Research Programs: Modeling Land-Use and Land-Cover Changes (LUC)
Bibliographic Reference: Global Theme on Agroecosystems, Report no. 54. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Patancheru 502 324, Andhra Pradesh, India
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:42
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2016 16:45
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/8959

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