By Joern Fischer
Yet again, there’s a new paper on yield gaps, and yet again, I can’t help myself but comment on it. Mueller et al. have published another global analysis in Nature looking at yield gaps arising from nutrient and water management around the world.
Unless I misunderstand their findings, the bottom line with respect to Eastern Europe is:
– there are major yield gaps for wheat especially (and a bit for maize)
– those could be closed through increasing nutrient inputs, e.g. in Central Romania, increasing them by about 75 kg of nitrogen per ha (per year, presumably — the the figure above).
What does that mean? Frankly, I’m not sure and that’s why I’m writing this blog entry. I’d be really happy for people to comment! Would 75 kg of N per ha be detrimental to biodiversity or not?
A few additional questions I would pose for Central Romania in particular:
Who would benefit from intensification? All locals or just a few (those able to afford inputs)? What would intensification mean for social justice?
And how will the food get from Central Romania to the hungry, given we don’t manage to get food to the hungry right now?
Yet again, we have a nice global map, which shows that “it can be done” but which ignores all socio-economic and regional complexities. Is it okay to ignore those? Or is it in fact vitally important NOT to ignore local complexities … ?