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447. JIRCAS-CCFS Society Workshop Report

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On December 17, 2021, the Workshop on the Effects of Climate Change and the Spread of COVID-19 on Food Supply and Demand - Food Security under Uncertainty was held online under the auspices of JIRCAS and the CCFS Society, and co-sponsored by the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO). The workshop focused on the impact of climate change and  COVID-19 pandemic on food and nutrition supply, and presented the results obtained through the projects previously undertaken by JIRCAS and the Grants-in Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

In the opening remarks, Pres. KOYAMA Osamu of JIRCAS explained the main themes and methodologies in the field of food supply and demand analysis, and the difficulties in analyzing the global threats of climate change and the pandemic, while pointing out the importance of analyzing the entire system from various angles.

Next, Dr. David Dawe, Senior Economist and Strategic Policy Advisor, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, gave the keynote speech, noting that many countries in Asia and the Pacific had continued to experience growth in their agricultural sectors in 2020, and that domestic food price increases had been limited despite the global food price spike. On the other hand, the percentage of undernourished people and the number of people who are worried about food security in 2020 increased, and the importance of controlling the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring physical distance in the food supply network was pointed out.

In Session 1 “Adaptation to Climate Change”, Dr. IIZUMI Toshichika, Senior Researcher at the NARO Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, presented the results of an estimate that the cost of simple measures such as shifting the transplanting date of major grains when the global average temperature increases by 2°C compared to the case without climate change would be USD 61 billion, and the damage caused by reduced yield would be USD19 billion. Next, Dr. NAKATANI Tomoaki, Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, explained that in an interdependent model where the current period's climate variable affects the synchronous economic variable, the least-squares estimated coefficients do not match the true values when the climate variable is not weakly exogenous, using the results of simulation experiments. Then, Dr. SAWAUCHI Daisuke, Lecturer at the Faculty of Agriculture of Hokkaido University, presented the results of decomposing the variance of per capita supply of rice in Asian countries into the variance and covariance of per capita production, trade, and inventory changes, and quantitatively showed the contribution of inventory changes and trade to the stabilization of domestic supply. 

In Session 2 “Effects of COVID-19 and Climate Change”, Dr. KUSANO Eiichi, Senior Researcher at JIRCAS began by showing that while existing large-scale global food supply and demand models can explain the supply of macronutrients to a certain extent, they are insufficient to explain the supply of vitamins A and C. He also pointed out the importance of identifying important nutrients and foods for each country and region. Dr. FURUYA Jun, Director of the JIRCAS Social Sciences Division, presented the results of a world food supply and demand model that shows that the per capita supply of beef in the 2030s and of rice and milk in the 2050s will decrease in many regions under the pandemic, compared to the situation without the pandemic, and that this will lead to a decrease in the supply of protein and iron. Dr. FURUHASHI Gen, Senior Researcher at the Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (PRI-MAFF), and Dr. KOIZUMI Tatsuji, Agricultural Policy Analyst at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), projected the supply and demand of indica and japonica rice up to 2040 using the global supply and demand model. The results showed that japonica rice is more susceptible to the effects of rainfall in China, the main rice producing country, and that international price fluctuations will be greater than for indica rice.

In Session 3 “Panel Discussion”, measures to secure food and nutrition under climate change and corona disasters were discussed from the following perspectives.

Food and nutrition security under climate change: Impact of mitigation measures on food supply and demand, and investment in R&D (Pres. Koyama); Unhealthy food system such as unequal food distribution and environmental load such as greenhouse gas emissions due to agriculture (Dr. Iizumi); Understanding of food system in the context of the actual situation of food and nutrition intake (Dr. Nakatani); Securing inventory in consideration of uncertainty and stabilizing food prices for stable food supply (Dr. Sawauchi).

Food and nutrition security under the pandemic: Improving health care system, ensuring physical distance in food supply network, social protection for unemployed, public-private partnership to solve problems in food supply network, and liberal international trade (Dr. Dawe); Preparing for nutrition supply to infants and other children who are vulnerable to short-term shocks (Dr. Kusano); Investment in R&D for stable supply of meat and development of nutrient-enriched crops (Dr. Furuya); Balance between maintaining economic growth and combating climate change, keeping in mind the soaring prices of agricultural products due to a combination of factors, including rapid economic recovery, poor weather, and rapidly advancing environmental measures (Dr. Furuhashi).

Common important issues: Strengthening the ability of research institutes to collect and disseminate information (Dr. Iizumi); Explaining in a convincing manner that the world is connected in order to consider the vulnerable people who will be greatly affected (Pres. Koyama).

Dr. IIYAMA Miyuki, Director of JIRCAS Information Program, summarized the panel discussion by pointing out the importance of analysis based on a systemic perspective in responding to increasingly complex and diverse global issues and development needs.

Finally, Dr. HASEGAWA Toshihiro, Leader of the Impact Assessment and Adaptation Group, NARO Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, and Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC 6th Assessment Report WGII, discussed three points that are common to climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, namely, the opportunity to consider the future of society, the magnitude of the impact on vulnerable groups, and the importance of solidarity. The event was concluded by pointing out the necessity of solving the problems of food, water, energy, and health in an integrated manner, eliminating inequality through solidarity, and the importance of dissemination and exchange of information.


Contributor: KUSANO Eiichi (Social Sciences Division)

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