Optimizing Land and Water Use at the Local Level to Enhance Global Food Security through Virtual Resources Trade in the World

Monday, 15 December 2014: 8:00 AM
Ximing Cai, UIUC-Civil & Environ Engrg, Urbana, IL, United States, Xiao Zhang, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, United States and Tingju Zhu, Int''l Food Policy Res Inst, Washington, DC, United States
Global food security is constrained by local and regional land and water availability, as well as other agricultural input limitations and inappropriate national and global regulations. In a theoretical context, this study assumes that optimal water and land uses in local food production to maximize food security and social welfare at the global level can be driven by global trade. It follows the context of “virtual resources trade”, i.e., utilizing international trade of agricultural commodities to reduce dependency on local resources, and achieves land and water savings in the world. An optimization model based on the partial equilibrium of agriculture is developed for the analysis, including local commodity production and land and water resources constraints, demand by country, and global food market. Through the model, the marginal values (MVs) of social welfare for water and land at the level of so-called food production units (i.e., sub-basins with similar agricultural production conditions) are derived and mapped in the world. In this personation, we will introduce the model structure, explain the meaning of MVs at the local level and their distribution around the world, and discuss the policy implications for global communities to enhance global food security. In particular, we will examine the economic values of water and land under different world targets of food security (e.g., number of malnourished population or children in a future year). In addition, we will also discuss the opportunities on data to improve such global modeling exercises.