Abstract for: Agricultural Theory in System Dynamics - A Case Study from Zambia

Global population growth and its food demand put increasing pressure on natural resources such as arable land and soil fertility. This paper uses Zambia as a study case to analyse the dynamics between food security, agriculture and natural resources. The country’s challenge is huge: its growing population already now suffers from chronic food insecurity while the low endowment agriculture works on depleted soils. To evaluate different policy areas a bio-economic system dynamics model is developed integrating agronomic and agricultural economic theory. The theoretical model is specified and calibrated for the maize system in Zambia. Simulations show that the current input and food reserve policies are short-term oriented and costly. Focusing instead on the use and building up of natural resources allows for higher long-term food availability and increases the resilience of the food system. The paper therefore suggests a shift of the policy focus away from public food reserves towards an enhancement of natural resources.