The role of resilience in food system studies in low- and middle-income countries

M.A. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
237 Downloads (Pure)


Current changes in food systems in low- and middle-income countries are not only associated with increasing demand for food driven by population growth. Shifts in diets with different production and processing structures likely have a more considerable impact in future: higher land requirements (e.g., more animal-based proteins) or changing production regions and structures (e.g., higher share of (imported) processed food). Whether the expected transition in low- and middle-income countries that is considerably larger than in high income countries is resilient, is questionable. Beyond, the resilience of food systems is not consistently assessed and hardly synthesized for low- and middle-income countries. A systematic review based on a keyword search was therefore conducted to identify research gaps on food system resilience for low- and middle-income countries.

This review identified three clusters of studies: studies in cluster 1 (global models and primary production) mainly model global (change) impacts on crop production, mostly disregard the downstream of the value chain and use globally accessible crop data (e.g., for cereals). Studies in cluster 2 (farmers' behavior under global change) mainly analyze with surveys and workshop formats the resilience of farmers and farming households under global change phenomena such as climate change and equally explore especially farmers’ adaptative capacity. Studies in cluster 3 (food systems and value chains) take a more holistic perspective and mostly qualitatively analyze the resilience of food systems based on existing studies. Quantitatively, most studies model the robustness of food systems and not their transformability.

Future research should quantitatively assess the adaptiveness and transformability of food systems and study the resilience of food systems beyond primary production. Studies should quantitatively model the impact between the food system and associated environmental and social systems and along the food value chain to generate relevant insights for food system governance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100356
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal Food Security
Early online date15 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


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