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Marché traditionnel flottant thaillandais où l'on trouve fruits, légumes et plats cuisinés à consommer sur place.. © INRA, LE BASTARD Chloé

Inra-Cirad Metaprogramme GloFoodS: Presentation

Updated on 10/23/2015
Published on 07/21/2015

The multi-year metaprogramme GloFoodS (Transitions to Global Food Security) is dedicated to the investigation of pathways to worldwide food security in a context of competition for land and natural resources, and is jointly conducted by Inra and Cirad, the two leading French research institutions for agriculture. Involving research on crop yield and livestock systems, land use changes, food processing and waste, nutrition and governance, the program aims at articulating global modeling of food supply and demand, with local issues of production and access to food.

Key issues

World food security is a challenge entailing both quantitative and qualitative components, which aims at providing sustainable, healthy and accessible food to all human beings that will amount between 9 and 10 billion around the year 2050. According to FAO, food security has four dimensions, each covering a set of specific issues.

First, the availability of agricultural and food products depends upon the world’s capability to produce them at the adequate quantity and quality level.

Second, the final consumption of food items addresses the issue of on-going diet transitions, consequences of under- and over-nutrition and the resulting double burden they imply.

Third, access to food is directly related to the issues of poverty and social inequalities that limit access to a balanced diet for a large fraction of world’s population.

Fourth, all stages of the agrofood chain are concerned with volatility and risk, resulting in instability of markets and prices.

Each of these dimensions is or will be subject to the consequences of major global changes already at play (climate change, depletion of non-renewable natural resources, degradation of renewable natural resources, demographic and energy transitions, etc.)

The métaprogramme GloFoodS (Transitions to Global Food Security) will call upon the multidisciplinary scientific skills of Inra and Cirad to explore each of these four dimensions, while adding the dimension of public policies. Its objectives are to analyze the balance and discrepancies between agricultural supply and food needs on the one hand, and the role of governance modes of food security, while accounting for the potential impact of global change. This program covers five main areas of research: determinants of nutritional transitions and their health and environmental impacts; trends and variability in crop and animal yields; production potential of additional land; innovations in products, processes and organizations to limit food wastage; links between household access to food and poverty.

By combining original approaches in agronomy, environmental sciences, nutrition, economics and sociology among other disciplines, and by adopting a global viewpoint, GloFoodS will contribute to international research on food security by articulating global change components (climate, natural resources) with nutritional transitions and their impact on the agrofood chain. Such global positioning necessarily combines with local approaches in order to, first confront regional outcomes of global scenarios to observations at a lower geographical scale, and second, to connect the analysis on food supply and household access to food.

The métaprogramme GloFoodS will enhance the provision of scientific knowledge on these issues, so as to strengthen the position of Inra and Cirad in public debates and international initiatives on food security. Through the dissemination of its research topics and associated challenges, the program will also facilitate the integration of food-security priorities with other scientific policies.


Seven scientific priorities

The many dimensions of food security have been grouped into seven scientific priorities:

  • Balancing supply of agricultural resources with food demand: modeling at a global scale (agronomy, economics, animal science, statistics)
  • The governance of food security (political science, sociology, economics)
  • Performance of cropping and animal systems: enhancing productivity (agronomy, animal science, soil science)
  • Land use, environmental impacts from production, management of natural resources (geography, statistics, economics, ecology)
  • Food technology and the agrofood industry: processes, waste management, white and green biotechnology (food processing, process optimization)
  • Diet transitions and health impacts (nutrition)
  • Access to food and individual behaviour: coping with food insecurity (economics, sociology, political science)

Find out more

The kick-off meeting took place in Montpellier in June 2014.