Foresight for sustainable food systems in the Eastern Gangetic Plains (EGP)

Project code
AUD 233,500
Research program manager
Dr Robyn Johnston
Project leader
Dr Avinash Kishore
Commissioned organisation
International Food Policy Research Institute, USA
SEP 2018
SEP 2019
Project status
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This project aimed to create and collate the knowledge base, and a core team of local partners, as a basis from which to undertake ‘foresight for food’ exercises in the EGP to facilitate sustainable intensification of agriculture in the region.

Food systems in EGP face major challenges from high and rising population pressure on land, high burden of poverty and malnutrition, increasing urbanization, stagnating farm incomes, and the rising disparity between farm and non-farm incomes and increased uncertainty due to climate change. At the same time, rapid economic growth and technological progress are transforming the South Asian economy, generating new opportunities for agriculture to become a more specialized and remunerative and less drudgery enterprise for smallholder women and men farmers and agricultural labourers. 

Whether leveraging the opportunities offered by rapid economic transformation or addressing the new challenges created by it, both require a systems-oriented approach to research, policy-making and implementation to reshape food systems. A reasonable understanding of the food system, its different components, and the way they relate to each other is essential to develop a system-oriented approach.

The overall purpose of this project was to lay down the groundwork for an open, scientifically informed and participatory foresight for food exercise in the EGP region, led by regional scientists and other stakeholders including policy-makers, the private sector and farmers.

This project is part of the DFAT/ACIAR-funded Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP) program.

Expected outcomes

  • Creating and collating the knowledge base and a core team of local partners as a basis from which to undertake ‘foresight for food’ exercises in the EGP to facilitate sustainable intensification of agriculture in the region.
  • Developing an improved understanding of the food system in the EGP region using a Food-Energy-Water nexus lens.
  • Identifying drivers of change in the key components of the food system and the risks and uncertainties in future.
  • Bringing together relevant reports, datasets and other information to support a scientific foresight analysis.
  • Helping to create a Community of Practice to support foresight and scenario analysis.
Key partners
Bangladesh Agricultural University
International Food Policy Research Institute