Funded by: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei
March 2019 / June 2020

Food-Energy-Water-Land-Climate Nexus: The Implication of the Dietary-Demographic Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa for energy, land and water requirements and greenhouse gas emissions (MEAT)

Numerous scientific contributions have highlighted the great environmental challenges posed by food, diets and nutrition, exacerbated by the rapid growth of the global population. 
The meat and dairy industry currently occupy 83% of the total agricultural land and produce 60% of the global agricultural sector's greenhouse gas emissions, inducing land use change and degradation, loss of biodiversity, and consumption of water and energy. 
In most countries of the world, meat consumption has grown steadily in the twentieth century. 
Only in Africa has consumption remained almost stationary. In the coming decades, the strong economic development of sub-Saharan Africa could therefore significantly increase the demand for meat in the continent, and therefore require significant energy inputs and strongly influence the use of soils and emissive trajectories. 
Through the use of econometric tools, scenarios development, and input-output modelling, the project aims to estimate the implications of these trends for human, energy, and environmental systems.

Main Results and Outputs
  • Understanding the historical relationship between economic development and per capita meat production and consumption (considering different types of meat)
  • Designing an array of scenarios of meat demand in Sub-Saharan Africa for the 21st century based on pathways followed by other developing regions in the world and different population and economic growth scenarios
  • Using input-output modelling, calculating a spectrum of parameters linking meat production and related environmental impacts, including land requirements, energy use, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to estimate the incidence of the different production and consumption scenarios under different assumptions for year 2050
  • Informing African policymakers of the potential energy, land, and natural resource requirements to fulfill the growing demand for meat in the continent
Project team
Project leader
Giacomo Falchetta
Researcher Read more

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