Economic modelling

Introducing more environmentally friendly foods such as NPFs to replace animal products seems promising for environmental improvement according to LCA. A limitation of LCA, however, is that it cannot show how the rest of world will react if consumers in the EU partly replace pork by NPFs. As long as pork is highly demanded in the whole world and feed is imported from the rest of the world, the pork issue remains an international issue. If eastern Asian countries have an increasing demand for meat (Keyzer et al., 2003), what would be the implications for meat producers in the EU? To answer such questions, we need a more extensive economic analysis, to understand how international trade and resource allocation will change if more NPFs consumption will take place in the EU.

The international dimension of EU animal protein production means that substantial changes in the pig production sector in the EU have a direct impact on agricultural producers and traders elsewhere in the world. For this study we have chosen to use an Applied General Equilibrium (AGE) model, because AGE models are suitable for studying world-wide issues (Shoven and Whalley, 1992; Ginsburgh and Keyzer, 1997). In order to include the environmental aspects in the economic model, we refer to the relationship between economic activities and the environmental system (Figure 10.1).

For an economic system consisting of production and consumption, we use the environmental resources as input, and we also emit some substances to the environment. In the environmental system, resource stocks and emission inflows from economic activities change the quality of the environment following the distribution and conversion in biophysical processes. The environmental quality supplies feedback to the economic system by influencing the amenity values of the environment and through impacts on economic productivity, resulting in interactions between the economic system and the environmental system (Costanza et al., 2000).

Our AGE model is a four-region global model. The model includes consumers' life style change, different production systems, and emissions from agricultural sectors. For the model simulations we consider a change in behaviour of consumers, because health and safety concerns have become pivotal in purchasing food products. For a large number of consumers, these concerns become manifest in the selection of products, as seen in increased purchases of diet and low-fat foods. In the final years of the millennium, more people in the developed countries have begun to change their attitudes towards animals, and an increasing number of consumers share the view that the meat industry does not care enough for animal welfare and is responsible for severe environmental damage. This tends to increase the demand for meat products that are produced in an animal-friendly way, or for meat substitutes (Miele, 2001; MAF, 1997; Jin and Koo, 2003). These concerns reflect that the consumers' attitudes towards food

Production according to i- technologies

Consumption according to preferences

Production according to i- technologies

Consumption according to preferences

Environmental quality following biophysical processes

The economic model

The environmental model

Figure 10.1 Links between the economic model and the environmental model consumption, or in general, their lifestyles are changing. To analyse the potential impacts of these changes in consumer behaviour, we applied the model to simulate different levels of replacements of meat by NPFs in the protein consumption of 'rich' consumers.

In our applied model, we focus on the environmental emissions from the agricultural sector. Agricultural activities including manure storage, soil fertilisation and animal husbandry are important sources of ammonia (NH3), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. The CO2 emissions from agricultural processes are not covered in this study as agriculture itself is considered both a source and a sink. For example, in the Netherlands the CO2 emission from agriculture is only 4% of total national CO2 emissions in 1998 and largely related to glasshouse horticulture (CBS, 1999). For the same reason, SO2 and NOx emissions are not considered because NOx emissions from agriculture are only 2% of the total emission of NOx and SO2 from agriculture was negligible in the Netherlands in 1998 (CBS, 1999). It was therefore decided to focus on three gases: NH3, CH4 and N2O.

The model simulation shows that substitution of NPFs for meat as a preference change will decrease meat demand. This substitution will also change the relative prices of meat and NPFs and thus consumer food expenditures. As an overall effect, the meat demand in the EU, other high-income, middle-income and low-income regions will decrease. The extent of the change is greater in the EU and other high-income regions than in the other two regions, because there is higher meat consumption largely due to the increased incidence of 'rich' consumers.

Results show that the higher the replacement of all meat (including pork, beef and poultry) by NPFs, the lower the NH3 emission. For the emissions of N2O and CH4, the same trend holds. See Figure 10.2 for the development of emissions under different replacement levels of meat by NPFs by the rich consumers. The reason is obvious, because the emissions are lower for the production of peas (the primary crop from which NPFs are assumed to be made) than for meat production. However, the emission reduction through life style change is very limited if only a small fraction of meat consumption is replaced by NPFs. This result can be explained by the restriction that only 'rich' people will currently switch to NPFs. Since the meat consumption of 'intermediate' consumers is increasing, the total meat production and consumption does not decrease so much. As a result, the production of meat still takes place in intensive livestock production systems.

25000 20000 -- 15000 10000 5000 0

ï a base 2 4 6 8 10 15 20 25 30 annual replacement of meat by NPFs for rich consumers (kg/capita)

Figure 10.2 Development of emissions under different replacement levels of meat by NPFs by the 'rich' consumers


Crop growth modelling

Pea (Pisum sativum L.) production was chosen as the model crop for the plant protein chain, primarily because of its protein content, its ability to grow in Western Europe, the absence of unwanted substances in pea and the availability of scientific expertise on its characteristics (Linnemann and Dijkstra, 2002). It was the objective of the project to design a tool for understanding how genotypes of peas respond to different environments, so that an optimal pea production system can be defined, with respect to quantity and quality of product and to resource use efficiency. Subsequently, potential pea producing areas are identified.

The complexity of primary production systems and the need to fulfil multiple objectives call for a systems approach to better understand the chain of production processes. The method to achieve this goal is based on


N2O 2020

CH4 2020

ecophysiological modelling. To this end, the model has to be robust, being capable of predicting crop growth responses to genotypic characteristics and environmental variation. Based on potentially useful elements from existing models, such an innovative model was developed. In addition, the main processes specific to leguminous crops (such as symbiotic nitrogen fixation) and to the PROFETAS programme (such as seed protein production) were identified. Once the model has been evaluated and proved robust, it can be a powerful tool for designing a sustainable primary production system at the field level.

Three major developments of modelling physiological components are to determine:

• the growth function;

• generic relationships between leaf area index and canopy nitrogen; and

• a new equation for electron transport in leaf photosynthesis.

Further, modelling the individual processes has been elaborated for nitrogen fixation, root senescence in analogy to leaf senescence, the formation and remobilisation of stem and root carbon reserve pools, and seed protein predicted from the amount of nitrogen partitioned to seeds. New methods reported in the recent literature for simple mechanistic modelling of canopy photosynthesis and crop respiration have also been incorporated. Integration of these individual model components resulted in the new, innovative generic crop growth model GECROS (Genotype-by-Environment CROp Simulator) (Figure 10.3).

The model is generic, applicable to any crop at any production level free of pests, and requires only minimum parameter inputs, which can be readily obtained in general. In addition to yielding characteristics that most existing crop models predict, crop quality aspects such as seed protein are also predicted by GECROS. Interestingly, the model predicts that within the range of seed protein percentage reported in the literature it is impossible to increase total seed protein production per ha by using pea cultivars of high protein concentration, because such cultivars would have lower seed biomass yields. The underlying reason is that for accumulation in high-protein seeds nitrogen needs to be withdrawn from the leaves. Such withdrawal causes faster leaf senescence and a shortened crop photosynthetic duration.

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