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Global monitoring of agriculture and food security

The world’s population has increased by 130% during the last 50 years, from an estimated 3.0 billion in 1960 to 4.4 billion in 1980 and 7 billion in 2012. The United Nations predicts that it will increase by 0.8% per year to reach 9.2 billion people by 2050.

These dramatic increases in population put additional stress on food security all over the world, highlighting a need for comprehensive, systematic and accurate global agricultural monitoring activities. The Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre is working on providing early, independent, and objective estimates about the yield and production of the main crops in Europe and in other strategic areas of the world. Satellite observations and meteorological data are integrated with baseline data on regional agronomic practices and results from crop growth model simulations to produce monthly Bulletins of crop yield forecasts for EU27 and neighbouring regions.

From January 2012, the crop yield and production estimates are included in the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, via incorporation into the crop balance sheets of DG AGRI that are communicated to AMIS at the end of each month. AMIS is an international effort (G-20 initiative) as a contribution to the transparency of global agricultural markets.


Analysis of the actual cereal situation for China, Russia, Kazakhstan (Data source: JRC MARS crop yield forecasting system; period of analysis 1st Sept. 2010 – 10th April 2011, pre-operational analysis)


IES is also monitoring food security in high risk regions world-wide. The information produced contributes to EU external aid and development policies, in particular food aid and food security policy. The desired outcome is to avoid food shortages and market disruptions and to better calibrate and direct European food aid. Bulletins of qualitative and quantitative crop yield assessments are produced to highlight the development of potentially critical situations and support food security analysis done by EU services, governments, international organisations and other food security actors. The assessments are based on several indicators, like rainfall anomalies, the Global Water Satisfaction Index and satellite-derived crop condition indicators.

Development of an operational EU Global Agricultural Monitoring System will be a huge challenge in the coming years and an important instrument with which to improve food security and future global governance.

In addressing the science behind this global challenge the JRC is performing feasibility studies in key productive areas of the world, and sharing proven models with other strategic EU and global partners.



Contact Info:

Stefan Niemeyer Tel: +(39) 0332 785820 E-mail: info-agri4cast(at)
Francois Kayitakire Tel: +(39) 0332 786580 E-mail: francois.kayitakire(at)

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