Transport infrastructure and logistics, not least domestic food transport networks, are an integral part of agrifood systems, and play a fundamental role in ensuring physical access to food. The resilience of these networks and their ability to function under shocks, such as those caused by natural disasters, pandemics, conflict, policy changes and sometimes plain human error, is essential to ensure the ”flow of food”.

This webinar will present the underlying work and outputs from a recent study, conducted by the University of Twente for FAO The State of Food and Agriculture 2021 report that analysed the structure of food transport networks for 90 countries, and assessed their resilience. The work involved the development of (i) unique spatial databases on transport networks, trade, accessibility and the spatial patterns of food production and consumption, (ii) new spatial workflows to integrate those data, (iii) transport and trade models to represent the flow of food domestically and internationally, and (iv) a new set of metrics that characterise the transport networks and their resilience.

We identified three groups of countries, although there is considerable diversity within these groups. The first group has high food transport efficiency in terms of proximal food availability; while there are alternative routes in case of disruptions, relative detours can be costly. The second group has lower food transport efficiency than the first; disruptions incur higher costs but networks are able to offer alternative routes to most disruptions. The third group has low food transport efficiency; these countries have sparse transport networks that are vulnerable to any loss of critical links. The study also simulated the effect of potential disruptions –floods – to food transport networks in three countries. The simulations illustrate the loss of network connectivity that results when links become impassable, potentially affecting millions of people.

Overall, the study provided a first geospatial framework to represent and model national food transport network resilience at a global scale considering not only local production and consumption, but also international trade. We conclude the webinar with some thoughts on how this new toolkit for measuring resilience can be further developed – considering both positive and negative disruptions - and linked with other food security initiatives and information systems.
Period6 Apr 2022
Held atThe CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information (CGIAR-CSI)
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Resilience
  • food security
  • agriculture
  • networks
  • transport
  • accessibility