About the project

The overall goal of GIFTS (“Global Interlinkages in Food Trade Systems”) is to develop an Environmentally-Extended Multi-Regional Input-Output (EE-MRIO) framework to assess the land use and land use change (LUC) impacts embedded in global agri-food consumption and trade. The project departs from a physical MRIO table developed by BC3 (host institution) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), based on FAOSTAT data. The current model includes data on production, transformation, bilateral trade, and final use – in physical units – for around 700 agricultural products in 182 countries, and for two different accounting periods (1997-2013 and 2010-2020). GIFTS plans to extend the model with environmental vectors with land use areas employed in both crop and livestock production across countries, and the underlying carbon stocks in both soil and biomass. A LUC module will be developed to be able to track land use conversion across years, as well as associated GHG emissions when carbon stocks are lost. Additional bottom-up extensions will be developed through a secondment at FAO headquarters to include GHG emissions from agricultural production. The resulting EE-MRIO framework will allow tracking the interconnections between agri-food demand, agricultural expansion, LUC and GHG emissions. The model will ultimately be used to estimate LUC and GHG emission footprints of alternative food consumption scenarios and the GHG mitigation potential of future dietary shifts.

To achieve this main objective, GIFTS is structured in three main scientific work packages (WPs), as follows:

  • WP1: Development of an environmental extension with land areas and carbon stocks across agricultural uses (cropland, pastureland) as well as in forestland, based on spatial analysis
  • WP2: Implementation of a land use change module to simulate land conversion among uses across years; as well as bottom-up GHG emission extensions for crop and livestock production, considering competition between pastures and crops
  • WP3: Forward-looking scenario assessment of the GHG emissions and LUC generated by shifts in food consumption and adjustments in global agri-food supply chains

GIFTS kicked off in September 2022 and will run to August 2024.

Methodological framework for the development of GIFTS