EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Modeling Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture under Resource Constraints

Julian Joseph1, Sylvia Tramberend1, Diana Luna Gonzalez2, Günther Fischer1, and Taher Kahil1
Julian Joseph et al.
  • 1International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Water Security Research Group, Austria
  • 2Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Center, Sweden

Sustainable Intensification of agriculture is a means to meet increasing future food demand in regions with rapidly growing populations and economies. In many of these regions, productivity is currently low. Increasing productivity while limiting additional use of resources such as water and land is therefore key to providing demanded and nutritious food in these countries. To model sustainable intensification, we build an optimization model. In its main economic specification, the objective of the model is to maximize farmer profit while at the same time respecting ecological boundaries. Therefore, constraints of the model are given by land availability and agronomic and climatic constraints to crop growth from the Global Agroecological Zones (GAEZ) method, as well as water availability derived from the Global Hydro-Economic Model (ECHO). The framework can be applied for either a single crop or multiple crops. The results of our analysis provide guidance on where and under which circumstances production of a crop can most efficiently be intensified. This can include the spatial distribution of irrigation or the allocation of several crops to optimally meet estimated demand. Demand is derived from projections of human population, economic growth and income elasticities. We use scenario analysis to examine how optimal sustainable intensification strategies change under different trade regimes for agricultural products and under different levels of climate resilience. Application of the model focuses on the East African extended Lake Victoria Basin (eLVB). In eLVB agroecological conditions are favorable for a wide range of crops, sufficient water is available in several sub-basins and population and food demand are projected to rapidly expand.

How to cite: Joseph, J., Tramberend, S., Luna Gonzalez, D., Fischer, G., and Kahil, T.: Modeling Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture under Resource Constraints, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-6817,, 2023.

Supplementary materials

Supplementary material file