Optimizing cropland cover for stable food production in Sub-Saharan Africa using simulated yield and Modern Portfolio Theory

P. Bodin, S. Olin, T. A. M. Pugh, A. Arneth
2014 Earth System Dynamics Discussions  
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> Food security can be defined as stable access to food of good nutritional quality. In Sub Saharan Africa access to food is strongly linked to local food production and the capacity to generate enough calories to sustain the local population. Therefore it is important in these regions to generate not only sufficiently high yields but also to reduce interannual variability in food production. Traditionally, climate impact simulation studies have focused on factors
more » ... cused on factors that underlie maximum productivity ignoring the variability in yield. By using Modern Portfolio Theory, a method stemming from economics, we here calculate optimum current and future crop selection that maintain current yield while minimizing variance, vs. maintaining variance while maximizing yield. Based on simulated yield using the LPJ-GUESS dynamic vegetation model, the results show that current cropland distribution for many crops is close to these optimum distributions. Even so, the optimizations displayed substantial potential to either increase food production and/or to decrease its variance regionally. Our approach can also be seen as a method to create future scenarios for the sown areas of crops in regions where local food production is important for food security.</p>
doi:10.5194/esdd-5-1571-2014 fatcat:dz22tngyuvg5laelaxwme6rdky