Sense, Predict, Act

Food R&D Program

Supporting smallholder livelihoods in conjunction with sustainable intensification is critical for food security

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), today almost a billion people around the world are undernourished. By 2050, three billion more people will be added to the global population – with the world population crossing 9 billion while arable land per capita continues to decline rapidly.

To nourish this growing population, world agricultural output must increase by 70% according to the FAO. Most of this growth in population will occur in developing countries where agriculture (particularly smallholder agriculture) is the primary source of livelihood. However, agricultural productivity growth has been slowing around the world and climate uncertainty and weather extremes highlight increased risks to food security as well as livelihoods. This is particularly acute for smallholders that have limited or no access to low cost agricultural risk management options.

An integrated approach is required to ensure that agriculture and agricultural productivity growth is sustainable not only from an environmental and societal perspective but also in terms of the livelihoods of millions of smallholding farmers that depend on it.

PSI’s Food R&D program is therefore working towards supporting improvements in areas of food security, agricultural risk management, and sustainable intensification. We are doing this by piloting new uses for remote sensing, weather intelligence, geospatial data mining, and participatory sensor networks, while planning to augment existing crop response models with more spatially explicit and temporally relevant data.