Water for Food

yield gap

Growing the gains and pruning the pains in producing Africa’s food

Why go gaga about GYGA – the Global Yield Gap Atlas? By: Njeri Okono, communications manager for Africa, International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT) This blog originally appeared on the CIMMYT website Dec. 30, 2015. Because GYGA is a crucial pointer to where the greatest gains in food production can be made, and… [Read More]

Kenneth Cassman

Agronomist Emeritus Robert B. Daugherty Professor of Agronomy, Department of Agronomy & Horticulture, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Department Website | E-mail | Printable PDF Kenneth Cassman’s research focuses on ensuring local and global food security while conserving natural resources and protecting environmental quality. He has worked on most of the world’s major cropping systems — from… [Read More]

FAO, Water for Food Institute publish global yield gap analysis report

June 23, 2015


To feed a world population that is expected to exceed nine billion by 2050 requires an estimated 60 percent increase over current agricultural productivity. Closing the gap between actual and potential crop yield is critical to achieve this goal.

A new report published jointly by the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization and the Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska reviews current methods to assess the productivity of crops and cropping systems worldwide. Read More

A New Atlas to Shape How We Feed the World

November 5, 2014

Ken Cassman

Participating in the 2014 World Food Prize Week in Des Moines, Iowa has me thinking about water and how we can best use this scarce resource to produce more food.

The world’s population is expected to reach 9 to 10 billion by 2050, causing a doubling in food demand. And not only is the population is growing, it’s also becoming more prosperous. As incomes rise, people have the means to eat more meat and dairy products, which require much more grain. At the same time, corn, soybeans and other crops are being diverted to biofuel production, which places additional pressure on food supply. Urban expansion often comes at the expense of prime agricultural land, with only drier, less fertile land to replace it. The result of these trends is an escalating need for agriculture to produce more food, feed, fiber and fuel on a limited supply of good farmland, and intense competition for water resources. Read More

Q&A with Ken Cassman: Study upends long-held food security assumptions

January 17, 2014


You hear it all the time in agricultural policy and research discussions: yields for the world’s major cereal crops will continue marching steadily upward. In fact, yields in many parts of the world have already plateaued and the relative rate of increase everywhere else is declining, says Ken Cassman, Robert B. Daugherty Water Food Institute Fellow and University of Nebraska-Lincoln agronomist.

In a study recently published in the journal Nature Communications, Cassman and UNL colleagues Patricio Grassini and Kent Eskridge suggest the challenge to feed the world is even more daunting than previously thought.

We spoke with Cassman about their findings and what it means for the future of global food security. Cassman leads an international research effort to create the Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas, an easily accessible web-based platform to estimate exploitable gaps in yield and water productivity of the world’s major food crops. Read More

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