DEVIL : Delivering food security on limited land

The project had been selected by the Belmont Forum and the FACCE JPI, and was linked to the NRP 68. It was carried out by nine partners globally, one of them being ETH Zurich together with the World Food System Center.

  • Project description (completed research project)

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    One of the greatest contemporary challenges is feeding 9 to 10 billion people by 2050, and the need
    to do this on limited land.

  • Aim

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    The project examined the many feedback interactions that exist between land use, land use
    change and food security. The tasks of the Swiss partners focussed on knowledge exchange
    workshops for education and outreach.

  • Results

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    The main results of the project included the following: Food and nutrition security cannot be
    achieved under current soil management regimes when global population increases as
    projected. However, a combination of three elements, i.e. sustainable intensification, lower
    consumption of livestock products, and waste reduction by 50% of current levels, is indeed able to
    provide food and nutrition security on limited land area and poor soil quality.

    Among other activities, the Swiss partners of the project were responsible for two
    international summer schools (South Africa, Switzerland) which attracted many highly motivated
    participants. We developed 12 design criteria for such training courses and assessed the rich
    picture method to teach about food and nutrition security. It turned out that this method is a
    simple and easy-to-use tool for teaching and reflective learning on complex problems like
    food systems or sustainable soil management.

  • Implication for research

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    The project provided excellent insights into the complex interactions between the demand and the
    supply sides of food and nutrition security, using different scenarios and regional contexts. These
    insights will help designing context-specific strategies to cope with food and nutrition security
    on limited land under climate change conditions while ensuring environmental health and human

  • Implication for practice

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    In particular the design criteria developed for training courses and the rich picture method have
    great potential to be applied in settings where stakeholders need to engage with a highly
    complex topic like food and nutrition security or sustainable soil management.

  • Original title

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    Delivering Food Security on Limited Land