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SUpport for Policy RElevant Modelling of Agriculture

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SUPREMA (SUpport for Policy RElevant Modelling of Agriculture)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-06-30

Impact assessments in the areas of agriculture are (partly) based on projections delivered by models. Sectoral policies are becoming more and more interrelated. Hence, there is a need to improve the capacity of current models, connect them or redesign them to deliver on an increasing variety of policy objectives, and to explore future directions for agricultural modelling in Europe. SUPREMA has a forward looking approach to close the gap between expectations of policy-makers and strengthening existing and establishing new linkages among models. SUPREMA offers scope for improving existing models and establishing new linkages among models. Data management is addressed, as well as future governance structures of the models. SUPREMA worked in light of the policy agenda with an increasing diversity of policy areas (e.g. the Common Agricultural Policy – CAP, environmental and climate policies, Green Deal and Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs). SUPREMA does propose a food systems approach, including input companies, farmers, traders, processors, retailers and consumers.
Modelling primary production could be enhanced through (i) an improved representation of production activities and sectors (e.g. fruits, vegetables and Mediterranean product) and products under quality schemes of the EU, (ii) an improved representation of inputs (e.g. fertilizers, antibiotics) and costs of production, (iii) the adoption of voluntary policy measures, farm management practices and technological innovations. More efforts are needed to better understand the adoption of technological and social innovations at farm level (e.g. endogenous technological change, introducing R&D investments in macro-economic models). Models with a proper representation of land use and forestry are increasingly important for any assessment about the evolution and contribution of the bio-economy.
SUPREMA provides a roadmap exploring future directions for agricultural modelling in the EU. It offers scope for improving existing models and establishing new linkages among models. Besides climate mitigation, more focus has also to be set on the preservation and strengthening of biodiversity.
SUPREMA achieved to gradually reduce gaps between expectations of policy-makers and modelling capacity. Instrumental to achieving these objectives were the workshops to update on progress of the project, the meetings with the External Advisory Board and a webinar to present and discuss the final outcomes.
The existing governance structures of the models are compared with the aim to derive recommendations on how to move towards a more sustainable business model in case they are lagging behind. Open source access is explored and will continue and will have implications for the future governance structures of the models.
Supply chain features and the behaviour of different players in the supply chain are important for understanding the evolution of the farm-retail price spread. Their impact is potentially far-reaching and covers issues as standards (e.g. food safety, environment, animal welfare), contractual arrangements (including sustainability requirements), price formation and price transmission-issues. SUPREMA concludes more efforts are needed in modelling supply chains, and rather than integrating them in the available models.
Models with a proper representation of land use and forestry gain importance for any assessments regarding the bio-economy. The capacity for modelling bio-fuels has substantially improved. However, modelling the introduction of bio-based materials and bio-based chemicals remain a challenge, at least partly because these products are very heterogeneous and due to the rapid technological change. The current status of modelling biodiversity remains rather weak. Efforts are needed to enhance the agricultural modelling capacity by introducing state-of-the-art ecological knowledge (e.g. especially in relation to evaluating impacts of CAP measures). Moreover, land use and management practices are important in the context of climate mitigation options.
SUPPREMA quantified the coefficient of variation between pre- and post-model linkage. Some model linking in SUPREMA showed relatively poor results, which might support evidence linkages are either too weak or even not correctly implemented. This topic is addressed in the roadmap of future directions for modelling.
A summary of the access to the SUPREMA website ( for the year 2020 is presented. In total there are some 3,040 unique visitors during January-November 2020, with some 93,000 hits and 22,000 pages that are downloaded.
Training material of CAPRI is improved and AGMEMOD organised a 3 days training to extend the network. Some models also benefited from the experience in organising virtual events.
Different exploitation and dissemination actions, including (i) 3 science-policy workshops on the needs, narratives and strategic prospects for research, (ii) documentation and training of the modelling tools for policy support, (iii) 3 meetings of the External Advisory Board to provide feedback on the results. They all are important means to help close the gap between expectation of policy makers and the actual capacity of models to deliver relevant policy analysis. The SUPREMA consortium recommends this sort of networking is essential for model comparison, model linking and model improvement.
Achieving climate neutrality by 2050 is a key objective of the Green Deal, requiring a better representation of adaptation and mitigation measures in agriculture, including their adoption and diffusion by agriculture. Cost-effective solutions could be designed by quantifying marginal abatement cost curves of mitigation measures. Results show that modest mitigation efforts outside the EU could result in EU farmers maintain their global competitiveness despite the ambitious EU mitigation policy. Medium-term agricultural policy scenarios until 2030 focus on different measures, including greening measures with enhanced conditionality and eco-schemes, shifts in CAP budgets (e.g. capping, redistribution) and voluntary coupled support. The model findings emphasize the importance of pursuing environmental, biodiversity and climate policies in a targeted way. In addition, substitution and spill-over effects can at regional level create ‘differences in direction’ of policy impacts.
The consortium is keen to follow-up and create a networking action on agricultural modelling, improving policy support at European level, and will consider organising a workshop in Brussels about agricultural modelling for policy support. The consortium will prepare a plan for 2021.
Flyer - SUPREMA Model outcomes - page 1
Flyer - SUPREMA Model outcomes - page 2
Flyer - SUPREMA Toolbox - page 2
Improved modelling capacity with additional linkages in the SUPREMA models
Flyer - SUPREMA Toolbox - page 1
SUPREMA: Meta-platform supported by three pillars