DEVIL : Delivering food security on limited land
The project had been selected by the Belmont Forum and the FACCE JPI, and was linked to the NRP 68. It was carried out by nine partners globally, one of them being ETH Zurich together with the World Food System Center.
Project description (completed research project)
One of the greatest contemporary challenges is feeding 9 to 10 billion people by 2050, and the need
to do this on limited land.
The project examined the many feedback interactions that exist between land use, land use
change and food security. The tasks of the Swiss partners focussed on knowledge exchange
workshops for education and outreach.
The main results of the project included the following: Food and nutrition security cannot be
achieved under current soil management regimes when global population increases as
projected. However, a combination of three elements, i.e. sustainable intensification, lower
consumption of livestock products, and waste reduction by 50% of current levels, is indeed able to
provide food and nutrition security on limited land area and poor soil quality.
Among other activities, the Swiss partners of the project were responsible for two
international summer schools (South Africa, Switzerland) which attracted many highly motivated
participants. We developed 12 design criteria for such training courses and assessed the rich
picture method to teach about food and nutrition security. It turned out that this method is a
simple and easy-to-use tool for teaching and reflective learning on complex problems like
food systems or sustainable soil management.
Implication for research
The project provided excellent insights into the complex interactions between the demand and the
supply sides of food and nutrition security, using different scenarios and regional contexts. These
insights will help designing context-specific strategies to cope with food and nutrition security
on limited land under climate change conditions while ensuring environmental health and human
Implication for practice
In particular the design criteria developed for training courses and the rich picture method have
great potential to be applied in settings where stakeholders need to engage with a highly
complex topic like food and nutrition security or sustainable soil management.
Delivering Food Security on Limited Land