On the use of agricultural system models for exploring technological innovations across scales in Africa: a critical review

One of the major challenges of the 21st century is to achieve food security under marked shifts in climatic risks and roughly a doubling in food demand by 2050 compared to present. Increased frequency and severity of extreme events are threatening future harvests, especially challenging agricultural production systems in African regions that are already food insecure. Sustainable intensification is required that meets the dual goal of improved environmental sustainability and economic efficiency. Ex ante evaluation of technological innovations to support agricultural production and food security taking into account climate-induced risks is of major concern. The declared overall goal of this study is to critically review the use of agricultural system modelling (ASM) over the period 1996 to 2015 for ex ante evaluation of technological innovations in Africa; in particular, to assess capabilities, gaps and the potential of ASM to inform decisions on investments in developing agro-technologies and supportive policies.