FAO, IIASA Launch Global Agro-Ecological Zones Portal to Plan for Climate Change Impacts

FAO25 May 2012: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) have released a planning tool to help identify areas capable of contributing to increased food production while meeting the challenges posed by climate change and maintenance of a natural resource base.

The Global Agro-ecological Zones Portal (GAEZ) will help planners identify the locations and causes of “bridgeable yield gaps,” where investment policies and support may help farmers produce more food. These gaps reflect the difference between what a farm produces and what it would be able to produce given the application of practices, inputs, technologies and knowledge.

In some regions, FAO predicts that current production is at 30-40% of its potential. It further identifies water availability and climate as the two key constraints to increasing food production by 60% by 2050. The GAEZ represents an extensive inventory of the world's agricultural resources organized around the theme areas of: land and water resources; agro-climatic resources; agricultural suitability and potential yields; and actual yields and production. The geo-referenced database will allow users to identify the factors contributing to low production, and evaluate options for the more widespread adoption of sustainable land and water management practices. [FAO Press Release] [GAEZ Portal]