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Transcript for

Ep48: Narrowing the yield gap in sub-Saharan Africa


Matthew Kessler 0:04

Welcome to Feed: a food systems podcast presented by table. I'm Matthew Kessler. And today we have a special episode for you on reducing hunger and narrowing the yield gap in Africa.

We're joined by Martin van Ittersum, professor in plant production systems at Wageningen University.


Martin van Ittersum 0:24

I think there's different layers of explanation, I mean, purely from the crop perspective, you could say, okay, the crop lacks nutrients, it lacks a good weed management, pest control, etc. So that's the simple agronomic explanation. And in theory, you can solve it by applying these inputs. Of course, it's not as simple as that, because the farmers would probably do it if that is the only trick. So the next question is: why don't farmers do it?


Matthew 0:55

Martin is trained as an agronomist and has led the global yield gap Atlas project that has mapped and examined opportunities to increase agricultural production on agricultural land across the world. Martin also has a guest professorship at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, with the production ecology and ecology departments.

And we have Klara Fisher, associate professor in rural development, and a senior lecturer in environmental communications at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences who you may recognize from a past conversation in season one of the feed podcast.


Klara Fischer 1:30

I think also that we need agriculture development. The problem is if advisors or development agencies or governments come in with the idea about how this should happen. I think you have like a recipe for how to raise yields, which will work, but I don't think it works to implement that recipe top down.


Matthew 1:50


Klara enters this conversation from a critical social sciences perspective, and has spent over a decade in the field working with African smallholders across South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.


Matthew 2:04

I really enjoyed this conversation that you’ll hear today. It probably helped that we were all together at a studio in Uppsala, Sweden.  In this chat, we’ll hear from two researchers who share an area of focus: food and farming in sub-Saharan Africa, but come at this topic from very different backgrounds and experiences.   

The starting point for this conversation is how to narrow the yield gap in sub-Saharan Africa. Both speakers agree that it’s really important to increase food production across the continent to feed the population that’s projected to double from 2020 to 2050, and 2050 to 2100. If Africa aspires for self-sufficiency with their food production, they would need to double or in some cases triple their production from today’s levels.

But while increasing yields are important, is it the right focus and frame for how to reduce hunger today?  Will bottom-up or top-down interventions lead to a more resilient food system? And should we focus on the challenges of today, or should we be gearing up to confront the growing demand for food in the decades to come

Both Martin and Klara presents different, and sometimes complementary approaches when thinking about these questions.

But first, let’s start with the basics. Let's start with you, Martin. What is the yield gap?


Martin 3:31

Yield gap that is the difference between what farmers produce today on their fields, so the yields on the current conditions, and what they could achieve if they did everything perfect with the crops, so enough water, enough nutrients, no weeds, no pests and diseases, and that is called the potential yield. And the difference between potential and what farmers achieve today, that is what we define as the yield gap.


Matthew  3:56

Martin van Ittersum was inspired to develop the global yield gap atlas in the wake of two food price crises in 2008 and 2011. Martin and his colleague Kenneth Cassman at the University of Nebraska had many discussions about trends in global food availability and related challenges, like food prices increases and how to feed a planet with 10 billion people.


Martin  4:19

So we both found it very important to have a better view on how much more can we produce on existing agricultural lands. So no further expansion of the area, at the cost of ecosystems, and coming with a lot of greenhouse gas emissions, etc. So what is the capacity in different places on our planet, to increase production on existing land, and then the yield gap is a very useful notion.


Matthew   4:44

So what does the Global Atlas project look like?


Martin 4:48

We quantify what are the yield gaps of our major food crops. So not every single small crop but focus was until now on say, the 10 most important food crops, country by country, so working with local experts, to get the best data and to get a proper evaluation of the results, quantifying the yield gaps for the important food crops country by country and then mapping these into an atlas online available freely for everyone. And, as a kind of wikipedia, improve estimations when that data become available.


Matthew 5:24

12 years after the project started in 2011, the yield gap atlas now has collected data from local experts in over 70 countries.


Martin 5:33

Which gives actually striking differences across the planet. In Europe, in China, in the US, farmers are close to 70, 80% of what is the maximum. So the yield gap is only 20 to 30%, you could say. But if you look at the other extreme, and that is particularly Sub Saharan Africa, farmers achieved maybe only 20% of what is theoretically possible. So yield gaps of around 80%.


Matthew 6:02

That means some farmers have the potential to double, triple or even quadruple their harvests. We’ll talk later about the conditions that are preventing that.

So Klara, I want to bring you in here. I'm sure that you would agree with your work with smallholders the importance of bringing in voices on the ground into this decision making process. But I also, from our past conversation, I know that if you could write the narrative on how we address all the challenges facing our food system, including reducing global hunger, I'm not sure you would start this discussion focusing on yield?


Klara 6:36

Yes, first of all, I want to say that, in many of the African contexts where I have worked, farmers do produce very low yields. And also, many small holders would like to have higher yields. So I agree with that starting point, then I think that we, we need to make sure that the focus on yields, that doesn't mean that we end up focusing only on the farm. And because the problem is at the farm, so to say, we see the problem is the low yield. And the problem is on the farm, but the solution might not be on the farm. For example, there is a lot of effort in Africa now, in at least the past decade, to raise yields. And there is a lot of talk about this new green revolution for Africa. And many African countries have focused on delivering modern seed and fertilizer to small holders. And that can be important for some small holders in some contexts.


Matthew 7:42

Klara Fischer points out that the reason yields might be low in smallholder systems isn’t necessarily because of the particular seeds and fertilizers.


Klara  7:51

Many small holders in southern Africa, for example, plant late because they don't have their own cattle and they need to wait to borrow cattle from someone else for plowing. So especially the poorest ones they cannot plant when they know that it's optimal to plant because they have to wait until they can rent the tractor or borrowing animals for someone else and then they will plant too late and they will get the lower harvest.


Matthew 8:14

Klara has some concerns about the assumptions that are built into the yield gap analysis. The yield gap helps define the problem as yields are low because of the type of soil or because there are too few inputs into the farm system. She wonders if that limits what types of change are possible?


Klara 8:30

I'm also thinking about the assumptions about what we can change and what we can't change. I feel the yield gap analysis focuses on that we can change agronomic factors, but we can't change society. It takes it for granted that we cannot shape what humans eat, for example, at the same time, we know from lots of research that we are shaped all the time by supermarkets, we are nudged by commercials. Society can definitely shape what people eat and what people do in general. I don't think we can see it as something inevitable that as people get richer, they will eat more meat, and rich people cannot reduce their meat consumption. That is something that we also need to question and the way that the yield gap focus frames the problem. It frames the problem as an agronomic problem. And the other problems are sort of they are left invisible, or they are seen as something that is, it's just natural. This is just natural. It's not something that we can do anything about. So we focus on what we can do something about, which, from an agronomist perspective, what you can do something about is what you are trained to do something about.


Matthew  9:46

Martin, I'll be happy to hear you respond to that. But I'd also like you to paint the big picture of the continent of Africa. You said, in some areas crops are achieving 20% of their yield. Can you talk a little bit about some of the trends in Africa and some of the issues they're facing in the next 30 years?


Martin 10:03

I mean, as an agronomist, of course, I tend to focus on yield and how to achieve yields, etc. But specifically, when it's about Africa, my prime entrance would not be yields, but my prime entrance would be the enormous increase in demand that we see happening, and that is projected, and yes, partly, but actually only a small part is due to dietary change. It's by far the most because of more people.


Matthew  10:33

So the 1.1 billion people currently living in SSA is projected to be over 2 billion by 2050, and close to 4 billion by 2100. And at the moment, many people in Africa are not receiving sufficient food and nutrition. Even partially narrowing these yield gaps could significantly contribute to a more food secure Africa in the future. And having such a reliance on international markets can create some pretty notable vulnerabilities.


Martin 11:00

Take the example of Ukraine and Russia, how that has affected the poorest countries. So I would… that's my concern, and the yield gap comes after that, it's secondary. But my concern is the trends in Africa and whether this continent can… not 100% perhaps but at least for 80% feed themselves, just to make them to a larger degree independent of what is happening in the rest of the world.


Matthew  11:31
Klara, Is there anything that you'd like to add to it? Because you're working with people on the ground about what the future of their livelihoods and their farms might look like?


Klara  11:40

I think I agree with Martin that I'm sure that most African countries want to produce more food and they want to raise yields. I think that there is a big gap, a gap between most… the majority of farming in Sub Saharan Africa is done by small holders, who farm for subsistence mainly, maybe they sell a bit also. And they are small holders because they have little land. And for some of them farming is their main activity. And for some of them farming is maybe a backup activity. And there's I would say, in many cases, a big disconnect between the small holders and what they do and their lives and priorities. And the African governments. And I think that is a big problem.


Matthew 12:28

So Klara finds Martin’s research both relevant and important, but she has some concerns about how the focus on yield gaps and how it is operationalized by different actors.


Klara 12:38

And I come back to all these investments in raising yields that are going on.

In practice, what often has happened in the past years is that many African governments and big international donors have focused on giving small holders modern seed and fertilizer. And this modern seed has been, in many cases, seed that is bred to be suitable under optimal circumstances. It's seed that worked really well for the large scale farmers in these contexts that have possibility of irrigation, possibility for optimal pest management and weed management and so on. And these seeds don't perform well on smallholders’ land and or they perform well, one season but they are not resilient to the dynamic environment that most smallholders farm in. And that's a big problem, because there is this idea that we should raise yields. And then we should do like the large farmers do. This is not an idea in research. This is a policy idea I would say. I mean, first of all, I think there is appropriate seed. At a research level, at least I know, for example, in South Africa, there are several small initiatives, developing open pollinated certified maize varieties that are highly suitable for small holders’ diverse contexts, but small holders cannot buy this seed. They are not in the shops. What's in the shops are the seeds that are suitable to the large scale farmers. So there is a big problem, I would say.




Matthew  14:24

Before moving into a discussion about the interventions or solutions to address the yield gap, we first need to talk about how we’re defining the problem. What are the root causes of the yield gap?



Martin van Ittersum  14:35

I mean, then we come to the question about what causes the yield gap? And then and I think there's different layers of explanation, I mean, purely from the crop perspective, you could say, okay, the crop lacks nutrients. And that can come from fertilizers, can come from manure, whatever, it lacks a good weed management, timely weed management. Lacks maybe, pest control, etc. So that's the simple agronomic explanation. And in theory, you can solve it by applying these inputs, or having the right cultivars, etc. Of course, it's not as simple as that, because the farmers would probably do it if that is the only trick. So the next question is: why don't farmers do it?


And often, there's a lack of credit, they can't buy, they can't afford the inputs at the start of the season, wait for four or five, six months until they can harvest and get some money back. So that that is a main constraint, there's probably also sometimes knowledge issues of knowing what to do at the right moment, the right time. So where extension can play a critical role.


Matthew 15:47

So after the agronomic layer, the next layer includes what inputs are available, can farmers afford and have access to credits to purchase those inputs, and whether the farmers are knowledgeable about when and how much inputs to apply.


Martin  16:01

There's another layer and then we come probably closer to what you're saying Klara, the policy dimension and stability, knowing how markets will look like, markets function first of all, and how markets will look like in half a year or one year or two years from now. So knowing more or less what price ratios will be and knowing that you can sell your surplus that you don't need on your own farm to a market for a certain price. Infrastructure that can help to make inputs cheaper and on the other hand, make sure you can actually bring your stuff to the market. And in general, I would say a stable facilitating climate, political climate, investment climate, economic climate, etc. That allows in the end farmers to use the inputs and to narrow yield gaps.


Matthew 17:00

That was a really helpful picture of the different nests of intervention. Say you have the agronomic on the inner nest, then the social factors, then you have the economic factors and then the political factors. And they're really all playing a role here. And I think this is something that you're both in agreement about is that there is a need to increase yields. And there are these different nested circles that we need to work within to get there.


But how do we address the gap? There’s growing momentum for the regenerative agriculture movement. Similar to organic and agroecological systems, it aims to minimize farm inputs and adopt farming principles that mimic natural ecosystems like diversifying farm products, integrating crops and livestock on the farm, and recycling nutrients. I asked Martin if this would make for a good future in SSA?


Martin 17:52

To give the short answer, I think, no. That's very black and white and not nuanced, I realize. But let me explain why I, why I give a fairly bold answer. The situation in Africa is very, very different from the one in Europe or in other places on the planet, where actually, there's very good things in regenerative and in agro ecology, etc. But the situation in Africa is such that if you look at the yields and the systems today, there's actually in many cases, a mining of the soil. So the crop yields, how low they are, they take up more than actually is supplied by the farmer every year. So there's a net depletion of the system and to say that we should circulate more or use more organic inputs, in principle, this is correct, we should do that always. But then there must be nutrients that can be circulated and there is not enough to circulate. That would be my point.

The livestock sector is modest in terms of size, compared to what we are used to in Europe or in China or in the US, because they eat less livestock products. And in general the sector is, that depends a bit, I mean, Ethiopia has many livestock, and so it's country by country, it varies. But overall in Africa, the livestock sector is much smaller. The manure that is available, that is used in many different ways. And we as Western society could learn from it in terms of circularity, I think. Because it will generally not be wasted, it will be used to… for energy for cooking to plaster the houses and to fertilize the soils, but maybe not primarily, but in second or in third instance. So it's very circular, but there is not enough. So I don't see an alternative than using mineral fertilizers as a complement. And let's be happy it's possible to add nutrients and in that way, crank up the yields.


Matthew  19:56

Can you talk about what an intervention of a mineral fertilizer could look like?


Martin van Ittersum  20:02

Yeah, first of all, of course, the agronomic experiments show that and have shown that for many years, but there's often a large contrast between what's going on in experimental station and what's going on on-farm. But if you look at the recent trends in some countries that have been active in subsidizing fertilizers, or let's say, make sure that they are more easily accessible to the farmers, that the yields have gone up. And this is true in Ethiopia, it is true, has been true in Malawi, it is true to some extent in Zambia.


Matthew  20:36

So at a national level, we see improvements in yield with the use of more fertilizers that can lead to a more food secure continent, which of course makes sense. Klara talks about what it looks like on the farm when working with smallholders.


Klara  20:49

It’s also my experience from working closely with smallholders, is that they really appreciate access to mineral fertilizer. It increases their yields, and they want fertilizer. What I think will be the challenge is that if we look at the… like the hope, let's say of closing the yield gap to 80%, that requires a quite high input of fertilizer. And most small holders, they want fertilizer, but they will never apply that much. Because they think it's too costly. And they see a big effect of applying a small amount. So who is going to make this change?

And if we think little bit about smallholder agency and what, if I'm, if I'm a small holder, and I, let's say I'm the head of a family, with some teenage kids who are at home, and I have a husband, and we have quite a lot of labor in the family. So in this case, labor is not the limiting factor. But we are poor and we don't buy a lot of inputs for our farm. For this family. I think an intervention that subsidizes fertilizer, or even gives it for free would make a big difference. But I would not apply all that fertilizer to that field that is recommended to me because I'd rather sell some to my neighbor, because you don't see the purpose. It just seems wasteful. I think for many smallholders, it seems extremely wasteful, somehow. That's one thing that's going to happen, I think.

Then for another small holder that might be a single woman with a bunch of kids, she doesn't have enough labor and she cannot pay anyone for labor either. And she cannot trade labor because she doesn't have anything to give. She will not be helped by fertilizer, because that's not the limiting factor. It is the limiting factor, but there is another limiting factor that prevents her from using the fertilizer. So when we take it down to the smallholder level, we sort of come to different challenges that we need to think about how to address and how to make it beneficial for small holders to address them.


Martin van Ittersum  23:08

Now, I think. I get that and I understand that and maybe it points at say different timeframes that we are talking about. I look at it where we need to move towards to in 2050. I'm not saying and I cannot say exactly what we need to do tomorrow, whereas Klara probably thinks more about okay, what's next. We started the conversation because of introducing agroecology, circularity with fertilizers… it will be a great mistake to focus too much on fertilizers only because it doesn't make sense to throw a bag of fertilizers on the field if your seed is not in good shape. If you don't have enough seed. I've seen many maize fields where you can bike through the field without hitting any plant. So few plants are there on the field. So proper number of plants is very important. Doing the tillage, doing the weed management, doing the pest and disease management, etc. If you don't do that right, it's a waste indeed to throw too much fertilizers on the field. Absolutely. The other thing is that, I think it's a development. We don't need to close the yield gap, say from 20% of the potential to 80% of the potential in a few weeks. The population will grow, but in 30 years. If we take that perspective, so I think it's a process where gradually you have to increase your fertilizer, or your nutrient supply, I would say, it's not necessarily only mineral fertilizers. Hand in hand with other inputs that allow the farmer to achieve a high yield. Now, having said that, I realize that many farmers in Africa are small, or very small, maybe half a hectare, and one hectare, two hectares, but in that range, is the majority of the farm households in Africa.


Klara  25:01

But I think you said something really important. Now, when you said that we don't need to raise yields from 20 to 80, right away.


Martin 25:08



Klara 25:09

Exactly. And I think that is a main problem that that's how many governments and donors think. Because I don't think that we will not solve anything by giving small holders modern seed and fertilizers and recommendations about maximizing their production. It needs to be sort of taken stepwise. And I think, for example, giving small holders certified, healthy local varieties that will raise their yields, but not massively, makes a big difference. And also, I think that poverty is a major problem that maybe, maybe Social Security would solve more than focusing on the seed. In many cases, if farmers had some more money, they could make more choices, they would have more agency to choose their future, and some would opt out of farming, also.


Matthew  26:06

So I find this really interesting, because Martin is coming at this from this macro picture, long timescale about really setting the target of where we need to go in the future. And Klara, you're coming from this very microscale. It's very on the ground perspective. You just mentioned social security. What other interventions would you put forward to not only improve the livelihoods of farmers but also to shrink the yield gap?


Klara  26:35

I think investing in government sponsored Agricultural Advisory services would make a big difference. There is very limited access to agricultural advice for small holders and most is private sector, which is not suited to the small holders, because the private sector goes where the money is, of course, so so it's very appropriate for large scale commercial farmers, but not for the small holders. I think that would make a big difference. I think also taking smallholder perspectives into agronomy training, because the advisors that come out they are very highly trained in providing advice and understanding the large scale commercial system, but they are not often well trained in understanding the smallholder context and the challenges there. And that's why the advice that small holders get, there's often a big divide between the advice and what is possible in the local context. I think that's, that's one thing to work with.


Matthew  27:35

Martin before spoke about the issue of timescale, how to get from the situation today to 2050. He next picks up on the issue of farm scale.



Martin 27:45

I can't see that the future of the current farm structure is in any way sustainable. With such small farms of half to say two hectares, the majority of the farms are in that range. And the trend is getting smaller. So if there's new kids, then the land will be divided among the kids. So I don't see how Africa can feed itself with such a fragmented small scale agriculture. And I'm not thinking about mechanization, like on the biggest farms in Europe or in the US or in Latin America, but small scale mechanization is not affordable in these conditions. Job alternatives should go hand in hand, with scaling of agriculture, I believe. Otherwise, I don't see the real developments going on and picking up to move towards a more productive agriculture which is needed to feed the population.




Matthew  28:54

We left off talking about different interventions to reduce the yield gap in Sub Sahara Africa. The next part of the conversation really gets into the weeds about how to prioritize agriculture and economic development. Basically, does improving smallholder agriculture lead to economic development, or does economic development bring people out of smallholder agriculture?


Klara  29:19

I really think that the major issue is to reduce poverty. I think if the land fragmentation we see is a result of poverty. And so yeah, that's why I come back to social security. So maybe that wouldn't make everyone invest more in their farming, but it gives people more options. And there is a reason that, that people in our part of the world have large farms it’s because they aren't poor, they have access to what they need. It's really tough to be a farmer in many, also in Sweden, and in other places, and they have huge loans and so on, but they still they have a completely different situation than this smallholder with half a hectare. We also come to an issue about the fragmentation needs to be reduced. And maybe it's not possible to produce efficiently on a very small scale. But that's not my competence. But I'm thinking that too, to prevent that from happening. People must, must have other possibilities. And then we need to reduce poverty. It's a little bit like if we think about a completely different topic, how many children a woman has. The major impact on lowering the amount of children you have is to have good health care, reduce poverty. So the solution is not where the problem is. It doesn't help to tell someone that you should have fewer kids, or, or you will only get childcare benefits for your or two kids. So no more that that…


Martin van Ittersum  31:01

I agree ending poverty is extremely important or decreasing poverty. The question is probably, is this possible without agricultural development. All the examples we've seen in the past and I’m not saying we need to follow just one model, but all the examples of the past are that an economy develops, because agriculture develops, and if agriculture develops, the processing industry of agricultural products and food products can develop, and that brings the need for other services and industrial sectors, etc, etc. So it's a driver, it’s an engine of economic growth and of slowing down poverty.


Klara  31:42

Now, I think I know what I think the problem is, or what I'm reacting to, is that, yes, I think also that we need agriculture development. The problem is if advisors or development agencies or governments come in with the idea about how this should happen. I think you have like a recipe for how to raise yields, which will work, but I don't think it works to implement that recipe top down. And evidence shows that it doesn't work. So I think we need to sort of be a bit patient, like, like you said, before, Martin, that we cannot close the yield gap right away. It takes time. And I think we need to be a bit patient and work from the bottom up and try to implement the changes and address the problems that smallholders perceive that they have, because otherwise we will not. There won't be agricultural development. And I think this is what causes a lot of frustration now in many African governments and with donors that they you know, they provide all these inputs and they give that advice that small holders should do this and it doesn't happen. And then sometimes there is also a discourse about that small holders are lazy and backwards and don't understand and so on. So you place your failure with the people who you are trying to change. But maybe the reason is that they don't want to change in the way you've tried to change them. So I think the risk may be with that yield gaps get a lot of attention globally, is that it shifts focus away from other issues, and it makes some people somehow forget that okay, yeah, this, we need higher yields, we need better varieties, we need fertilizer, we need better weeding, and so on. Yes. But it will not work just to take that recipe and put it in a context where people have other challenges, and might not prioritize changing that right now. So that's a big difficulty I think.


Martin van Ittersum  33:45

I mean, again, I want to picture the larger picture in the context, longer term, I have no pretension to know what farmers need to do in different environments tomorrow. It's a very complicated question. And I answer that… if people ask me, What do farmers need to do now or tomorrow? I answer with a lot of hesitation, because their environments are so different, and there is no silver bullet for all these different farms, etc, etc. But to me, the longer term perspective is that yields have to move up, that this cannot be done without nutrients, and unfortunately, not without mineral fertilizers to some extent, and let's hope we learn with Africa from all the mistakes we made in Europe and in China and other places, so not overdoing. And I think for tomorrow, and the next years, there is many ways to make the first steps. Also with, with little fertilizers, by introducing grain legumes, or legume crops in general that can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, by integrating livestock to the best extent, and in that way, using the manure that is available, by crop rotations, etc, etc. And maybe not the most, most modern varieties, but varieties that allow higher yields and can stand some inputs, etc. So to make these first steps, I'm not the specialist to say exactly which farmer should do what, but as long as the direction of development is there, then, then it makes me feel a little bit better. I'm just concerned that it's not enough between the ears of many people in Europe, but perhaps also in Africa I don't know, what the perspective is with this doubling of population, dietary change, which is hardly avoidable, and the fragmented small scale agriculture. That can mean enormous problems for the continent itself, hunger, conflicts, starvation, etc. And in the end, also, migration is at a scale that we've never seen before.


Matthew  35:58

So that is one future that you just laid out. And I want to ask you, Martin, and then I'll ask you, after Klara's maybe as a closing, what does a good future look like in Africa, if you could paint what a good future looks like?


Martin van Ittersum  36:08

I would say, if Africa, in my view, should be to a large extent, self sufficient in future. So not be hugely dependent upon other continents. The idea that Europe or US can feed Africa, I mean, I don't think that's, that's realistic, viable, desirable, etc. So a self-sufficient Africa to a large extent, let's say 80% or so, that requires a more productive agriculture, hopefully learning from the mistakes that we've made elsewhere, so a much more environmentally responsible type of agriculture. To help the continent of Africa, hearing what the continent wants itself, I think they are in the lead, but with the support from the rest of the world would be highly needed.


Matthew  36:58

And you Klara, what is your what is your vision? What is your good food future?


Klara  37:03

My vision is that African governments and donors pay more attention to smallholders’ situations and what they want. I think that is an important success recipe for agriculture development, and also more investments in agricultural advice, including veterinary services. There's a huge lack of access to advice and services for small holders. And I think that is something that I see again and again in my work, that it would make a big difference, and it's something that small holders request.


Martin van Ittersum  37:39

What you just said Klara doesn't conflict with what I said. I think both is needed. But it’s just a different time perspective.


Klara  37:44

Yeah, exactly. It doesn't.


Matthew  37:47

Thank you both very much for speaking with us in person, in beautiful Uppsala, Sweden on a grey overcast day. Thank you.

A big, big thank you to Klara Fischer and Martin van Ittersum. We’ll post links to their works and their articles and the yield gap on our website: And a big thanks to you for listening. It really helps if you rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts and tell your friends and colleagues about us. TABLE is a food systems collaboration between the University of Oxford, Swedish University of Agricultural Scienes and Wageningen University. You can follow more of our work by subscribing to our newsletter Fodder.

We’re currently working on our next season of the podcast – should food systems be more natural? If you have any ideas, guest suggestions, comments, thinks you’d like to hear us explore, you can send us an esmail to . This episode was produced and edited by me Matthew Kessler with special thanks to Eva Thuisman for sharing her expertise when reviewing the episode. Music my blue dot sessions. Talk to you soon.