The Belmont Forum announces a final funding decision for the recent call on the theme of Food Security and Land Use Change – Type 1 (community building projects)

March, 2014

These awards provide support to transdisciplinary, multinational consortia to engage in global change research through a 14-country joint research initiative supported by the Belmont Forum and the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI). Consortia are comprised of natural scientists, social scientists and end-users, policy makers, and associated stakeholders. The goal of these research projects is to increase scientific understanding of the dynamic spatial scale interactions between food security and land use in the context of global change, and the consequences of these interactions for climate, ecosystems and social systems, including their economic and cultural dimensions.
This call of the International Opportunities Fund will provide support for the following consortia.


“Food System Governance, Food Security and Land Use in Southern Africa”
Lead PI: John Ingram, University of Oxford

Partner PIs:
Drimie Scott, Southern African Food Lab (SAFL) based at the University of Stellenbosch
Johnston Peter Allison, University of Cape Town
New Mark George, University of Cape Town
Ziervogel Gina, University of Cape Town
Oughton Elizabeth, University of  Newcastle upon Tyne
Gowing John, University of  Newcastle upon Tyne
Irani Tracy, University of Florida
Balser Teresa, University of Florida
Lamm Alexa, University of Florida
Termeer Catherina J.A.M., Wageningen University
Kok, Kasper, Wageningen University


Project Summary: The role of private companies and other institutions is of growing importance in food security and land use issues in southern Africa. These include major ‘up-steam’ actors in the food system, including those engaged in food processing, marketing, intraregional trading, and the food aid sectors. All are ultimately influenced by consumers, and can therefore are largely controlling demand. The role these ‘actors’ fulfil, and the way in which they operate, is mediated by their interactions with each other and with both state structures (e.g. SADC and national policies). In essence, the governance arrangements among these actors determine how these interactions play out, but the situation is complex and these arrangements are poorly understood.

The overall objective of this project is to draw on research skills from South Africa, UK, US and the Netherlands to build an international community of researchers closely linked to a range of stakeholders across southern Africa’s public and private organisations. This community will then be able to co-design and jointly undertake research on (i) the effectiveness and adaptiveness of food system governance arrangements for food security; and (ii) food systems governance as driver of land use change and implications for associated ecosystem services.

The research focus on governance arrangements in southern Africa’s food systems is highly innovative. Earlier work has highlighted this need, but there has been little coordinated effort to address this at national level, let alone internationally. The multi-level approach spanning SADC-national-provincial-local levels, again strongly advocated by earlier work, is also innovative. Combining the governance angle with the multi-level work is the distinguishing feature of this proposal. Results will help inform both public and private policy making on the consequences of ‘demand-led’ decision making for food security and land use change, thereby complementing other work on land use change as driven by issues of food supply.


“Sustainable Management of Agro-ecological Resources for Tribal Societies 2"
Lead PI: Catherine Chan-Halbrendt, University of Hawaii

Partner PIs:
Sipes Brent, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Travis Idol, University of Hawaii
Masuda Tadayoshi, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN)
Roul Pravat Kumar, Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Dahl Nityananda, PRADAN, Kendujhar
Van der Putten Wim, Wageningen University, Plant Sciences
Gray Steven, University of Massachusetts, Boston

BF/IGFA sponsors: NSF, JST, MoES and WUR

Project Summary: This project will demonstrate how conservation agriculture, technology, and fore-knowledge of climate variation (e.g. water availability) can be integrated with small landholder farmers' existing knowledge and behaviors to increase adaptation to climate change. With better understanding of behavior, we will have greater adoption of conservation agricultural production systems that are resilient to climate change and provide rural farmers with tools for self-reliance. By understanding how farmer decisions are currently made (through cognitive mapping) and by understanding market conditions and current environmental conditions, we can develop community-based farming programs that are less environmentally disruptive than traditional rural agricultural development programs, provide greater real-time feedback of market conditions, and which are sufficient to change behavior that increases environmental stewardship, market stability, and ultimately food security. The consortium has expertise in plant scientists to understand environmental conditions on production, economists to understand market conditions, social scientists to understand cognitive condition, as well as on-the-ground research support in India. By targeting risk tolerant communities, we will increase adoption of climate smart technology using a community-based engagement model.


“Hydro-social and environmental impacts of sugarcane production on land use and food security – an international programme to foster trans-disciplinary science, networking and community building”
Lead PI: Tim Hess, Cranfield University

Partner PIs:
Sumberg James, Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
Biggs Trent, San Diego State University
Milesi Cristina, California State University Monterey Bay
Ozdogan Mutlu, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Georgescu Matei, Arizona State University
Thenkabail Prasad, U. S. Geological Survey
Marin Fabio R., University of São Paulo – Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture
Gumma Murali Krishna, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
Nixon David James, Booker Tate Ltd
Marshall Michael, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Graham Jewitt, Centre for Water Resources Research, University of KwaZulu-Natal


Project Summary: Globally, the area of sugarcane is rising in response to growing demand for bioethanol and increased demand for sugar for domestic consumption due to increased prosperity and socio-economic development. In some countries, these changes in land use are happening through conversion of existing agricultural land used for subsistence; whilst in other areas there has been extensive displacement of native vegetation for new cane cultivation. In both cases, this trend towards large-scale industrial mono-cropping is likely to have major impacts on land-use, agro-ecology, food security and ecosystem services. There are also concerns regarding the impact of climate change on land use and food security with rainfall variability putting increased pressure on yields; it is also likely to create greater uncertainty on the viability of rainfed cane production and thus increase water demand for irrigation.

The aim of this project is to launch an international programme to foster trans-disciplinary science, networking and community building. The focus will be on understanding the hydro-social and environmental impacts, benefits and trade-offs that arise through the continued expansion of cane production, and its broader consequences global food security. The project will focus on Brazil, India and South Africa, where agriculture is an important cornerstone of the economy, a basis of economic growth and a significant source of livelihood. It is also a sector under pressure to improve resource efficiency and increase resilience to future climate uncertainty. The project involves researchers from the UK, the USA, India, Brazil, South Africa and Australia and will encourage a more trans-disciplinary and holistic approach integrating agronomic, climatic, environmental and socio-economic knowledge. The consortium has expertise in agricultural systems, land use modelling, social science, climate impact assessment, rural resource economics, GIS, remote sensing and spatial modeling for decision-making.