This study aims to help bring the domestic food transport network into focus for The State of Food and Agriculture 2021 – Making agrifood systems more resilient to shocks and stresses. 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 at the local level, as well as in producing non-food agricultural output. The flow of food from farm to fork is vulnerable to various shocks; however, the resilience of this flow has rarely been studied. This study aims to fill that gap; in doing so, it develops a spatial analysis
framework that realistically characterizes the physical transport network, and uses this framework to then analyse the network’s ability to transport enough food to meet demand.

The analysis builds on a preliminary spatial workflow and on evaluated resilience
metrics to analyse the structure of transport networks in the context of national food transport network resilience. For a total of 90 countries, it considers road, river and rail transport infrastructure, along with trade ports, border crossings and their respective import and export quantities. It then measures food transport network resilience for each country through three main indicators: proximity-based resilience, relative detour cost and alternative route availability.

Findings show that where food is transported more locally and where the network is denser, disturbances have a much lower impact. This is mostly the case for high-income countries, as well as for densely populated countries like China, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. Conversely, low-income countries have much lower levels of transport network resilience, although some exceptions exist.

A simulation of the impact of localized 1-in-10-year flooding events in Mozambique, Nigeria and Pakistan is also used to capture the effect of potential disruptions to food transport networks for crops in the three countries. The simulation illustrates the loss of network connectivity that results when links become impassable, potentially affecting millions of people.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationRome
PublisherFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Number of pages84
ISBN (Print)978-92-5-135363-9
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2021

Publication series

NameFAO Agricultural Development Economics Technical Study
ISSN (Print)2521-7240
ISSN (Electronic)2521-7259




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