Resilience to multiple harvest failure: The role of storage, trade, and local markets

PhD Project

Under climate change, weather variability and extreme events will become more common, increasing the likelihood of multiple harvest failures. These events can have severe impacts on global food security. Two important socio-economic mechanisms within the food system that can reduce the impacts of such shocks are food storage and market access. This project aims to first characterize the scale and frequency of past harvest failures, including their impact on food availability and prices, through a statistical analysis of historical harvest and price data.

Furthermore, an agro-economic global food system model, the MAgPIE model, will be applied and further developed in order to include storage dynamics. This will provide an assessment of storage and trade as buffers between expected and actual crop yields, especially under possible future harvest failures. The MAgPIE model will also be further extended to map spatially explicit food demand globally at the 0.5-degree (approx. 55km) resolution, for which crop production under climate impacts is already part of the model. This will allow for a representation of local markets, and thus an investigation of the resilience of local to international supply chains.

In combination, these studies shed light on the cross-scale interactions between food storage, trade, and local to global market access. A good balance between these aspects should improve the resilience of the food system and thus food security outcomes under future climate change.