Food systems

5.1 Supply-chain governance as an enabler of landscape sustainability: Prospects for sector-wide changes

Mairon G. Bastos Lima, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Sweden
Toby Gardner, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Sweden

A handful of agricultural commodities drive most landscape transformations. Both conservation and food system sustainability crucially require addressing forest-risk commodities (e.g., soy, palm oil, cocoa). Trade in these commodities has witnessed an unprecedented level of attention, but piecemeal action by individual actors has fallen far short of the scale of sector-wide change needed. Recent improvements in satellite monitoring, supply chain transparency, and agricultural commodity traceability have offered new opportunities to identify barriers and assess progress. Yet, understanding how agri-food governance may capitalize on these developments remains a challenge.
This section will explore novel ways governance innovations can benefit from agricultural supply-chain data and transparency. It will focus particularly on demand-side measures by food-importing players that can support change towards more diverse and sustainable landscapes. Questions will include: What are the most actionable indicators for measuring commodity-driven deforestation? How can markets and consumer governments effectively promote landscape biodiversity in producer countries? Which instruments are the most promising to deliver change at scale? And what are some of the hard truths we need to face? We welcome macro analyses as well as in-depth case examinations for a discussion of how evidence-based supply-chain intelligence can support governance innovations.


5.2 Smallholder Agriculture and Covid-19 Pandemic: Diversification for Resilience Building

Claudia Ringler, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), United States of America
T.S. Amjath Babu, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CiMMYT Bangladesh), India
Katharina Löhr, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany
Stefan Sieber, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany

While COVID-19 has had a great impact globally, the pandemic has hit the livelihood capitals of smallholder farmers in the developing world particularly hard. This includes effects on smallholders’ financial, market, social, human, and information and technology capitals. The multi-dimensional impacts of the pandemic have also interacted with climate stress, which is affecting natural capital, and magnified the economic, food and nutrition security impacts.
This session focuses on these inter-related impacts of COVID-19 on farm systems and related diversification strategies to strengthen resilience at food system level. Diversification at various levels, including diversification in farm systems, diversification of income and diversification of social and economic systems will be discussed as possible strategies in the frame of the “building-back better” initiative. The session introduces and discusses experiences from different countries and continents, including Ghana, Iran, Kenya, Nepal,Senegal, in order to identify potential pathways for future pandemic management and improved food security in crisis situations. Participants of various backgrounds are invited to join and contribute during discussions for a fruitful and enriching session. Contributions focusing on resilience and diversification strategies in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East are particularly welcome.


5.3 Sustainable food systems and their transformative impact on landscapes: the case of protein production

Reiner Brunsch, Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB), Germany
Vera Tekken, Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB), Germany

Food production causes environmental degradation at all scales (EAT-Lancet Commission - Willett et al. 2019). With a growing global population, the total food demand and especially the demand for animal protein will rise even further. Moreover, arable land will become increasingly scarce and the intensification of agriculture has been driving the decline of landscape heterogeneity and the loss of biodiversity across European agroecosystems (Emmerson et al. 2016).
The EAT-Lancet Commission calls for a global shift of diets and food systems beneficial not only for nature, but as well for animal welfare and humans; a critical component will be the substantial reduction of animal source foods and in parallel the increased production and consumption of plant-based foods (Willet et al. 2019). The diversification of proteins for food and feed and in particular the finding and testing of sustainable alternatives (plant-based such as legumes; insects, algae) could provide a solution to restore degraded landscapes and conserve their biodiversity, as well as to provide healthier protein sources.
However, from an agricultural and economical view, the production of alternative proteins must be appropriate and efficient, thus environmental protection measures should be production-integrated while fostering ecological upgrading.
Therefore, the main questions discussed in this session will focus on the following:

  • How the production of diversified, alternative protein sources for food and feed could support the shift towards sustainable agricultural landscapes (e.g. soil conserving, farming methods that promote biodiversity)?
  • Concepts of sustainable food production systems and their transformation potential for landscapes?
  • What are new strategies for sustainable livestock production, which will be cost-efficient, resource-friendly and environmentally compatible for different landscapes?
  • What are conflicting objectives (“Trade-offs”) between sustainable “food-scapes” and high-quality protein provision - and how could these be avoided or solved?

This session invites contributions and papers on practical solutions or concepts on improving agricultural landscape management (e.g. integrative, innovative, re-generative, rural, urban, livestock production, plant-based protein production, insects, algae and/or aquatic production) towards more sustainability, at all scales of alternative protein production.
We encourage submissions around topics such as e.g. input-output-analyses, life cycle assessments, potential studies in the context of regional or rural development, circular economy initiatives or optimum nutrient utilisation along the production chain.

5.4 Transition towards a sustainable food system

Björn Moller, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Germany
Ariane Voglhuber-Slavinsky, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Germany
Ewa Dönitz, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Germany

The Food sector is facing many challenges in the years to come. Mega trends like climate change will have big impacts on the productivity of agricultural land, a growing world population has to have access to save and nutritious food, and damages to ecosystems and biodiversity exercise negative impacts on agricultural production. In addition, trends in food and agriculture as well as changes in societal behaviour will shake up today’s food sector, like consumer demands for alternative proteins and an increasing request for environmentally friendly produced food. The growing awareness around the need to transition towards sustainability is now evidenced in a number of policy initiatives around the world. Sustainable food production, ensuring food security, reducing food losses and waste and many other aspects are essential to reach a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system.
In this session, the impact of the diverse trends as well as possibilities and measures how to tackle these challenges along the whole food value chain will be presents and discussed. This includes new production methods like urban farming and aquaponics, innovative packaging like edible or biodegradable foils but also aspects like artificial intelligence in logistics and retail e.g. for predictive stock management. The question “Who is driving the actions for sustainability most?” will be discussed when possible pathways towards a more sustainable food sector in 2035 will be sketched.