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Food, Price and Conflict: Earth Observations-based Agricultural Production forecasting to assess potential impacts on grain markets and civil unrest

Food, Price and Conflict
Project Description

This project is comprised of three interdisciplinary and integrated components:

   i) Development of an EO-based generalized approach to wheat yield forecasting that is nationally tuned for implementation in the primary wheat exporting countries;

   ii) A simulation and empirically based assessment to explore the potential impact of timely EO-based forecasts on reducing price volatility

   iii) Examination of the relationship between the availability of agricultural production information, price fluctuations and civil unrest.

The focus is on the main wheat exporting countries because those countries dominate the international wheat markets. These countries include the United States, Russia, Australia, Ukraine, Canada, Kazakhstan and Argentina. Using remotely sensed data, official crop statistics and ground observations, we are developing wheat masks for the major wheat export countries.

The issue of agricultural land use for food security has rapidly risen to the top of government agendas around the world as the recent lack of food access has led to unprecedented food prices, hunger, poverty, and civil conflict. With one in seven people estimated to suffer from hunger and malnutrition, global food production is facing immense challenges in this century. The devastating droughts in Russia, Ukraine and Australia were primary factors leading to the two recent food price surges of wheat and wheat products. Although the complex combination of factors leading to the grain price surges are still the subject of intense debate, it is clear that timely, trusted information on food supplies is a critical element for helping to reduce market uncertainly and to avert such volatility.