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Exploring JRC’s iMAP for CAP Strategic Plans

Apr 11, 2024 | EU Institutions

Authors: Jesús Barreiro-Hurle (JRC), Thomas Fellmann (JRC), Robert M’barek (JRC) and Blanca Casares (AEIDL)

Research in the area of agro-economic modelling has been one of the key contributions of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) to the development of better agri-food policies in the EU. For this purpose, the iMAP project (Integrated Modelling platform for Agro-economic and resource Policy analysis) was commissioned by the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) to the JRC and established from 2005 with a long-term perspective.

The JRC is one of the partners of the European project Tools4CAP (2023-2026) – which stands for “Innovative Toolbox empowering effective Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) governance towards EU ambitions” –funded by the Horizon Europe programme and coordinated by ECORYS Brussels. The overall ambition of Tools4CAP is to support the implementation of National CAP Strategic Plans 2023-2027 and lay the foundations for a sound preparation of post-2027.

iMAP’s purpose and scope

iMAP aims to provide robust scientific evidence to support the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies affecting the agricultural sector, mainly the CAP incorporating the environmental and climate change ambitions and objectives. As of today, the main pillars of iMAP-based support for DG AGRI are: (i) the medium-term outlook for agricultural markets, (ii) the provision of analysis for CAP reforms, and (iii) the assessment of the trade liberalization agenda.

Thematically, iMAP has focused on analysing the CAP and its reforms, with a forward-looking perspective. Over time, environmental aspects have increasingly entered the policy debate, with iMAP and its tools becoming better equipped to assess and support the transition of the agricultural sector towards increased environmental sustainability and its contribution to mitigating climate change.

By 2012, the initial vision for iMAP had developed into a policy support-oriented platform with a range of Partial Equilibrium (PE) and Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) models. These included the PE models AGLINK-COSIMO, CAPRI, CAPSIM, ESIM, AGMEMOD, and the CGE models GLOBE/STAGE, MAGNET, RegEU27, and the AgroSAMs/BioSAMs. Since then, the model suite has been streamlined reducing the number of PE and CGE models and introducing the farm-level model IFM-CAP.

Figure: Composition of iMAP models at different scale (shaded models no longer used as part of iMAP).
Source: Authors’ own elaboration
Relevance of application within CAP Strategic Plans and its dissemination from Tools4CAP Academy

The Tools4CAP Academy provides a framework for capacity building and peer-learning linked to the design and monitoring of CAP Strategic Plans. It is coordinated by AEIDL (European Association for Innovation in Local Development) in close collaboration with other partners. For that, the Academy is interested in exploring in more detail the use of the different iMAP models in the CAP, and more specifically, in the national Strategic Plans.

Starting with the model dedicated to the smaller unit of analysis (farm level), the Individual Farm Model for Common Agricultural Policy Analysis (IFM-CAP) is an EU-wide individual farm level model aiming to assess the impacts of CAP on farm economics and environmental effects. The rationale for such a farm-level model is based on the increasing demand for a micro simulation tool capable to model farm-specific policies and to capture farm heterogeneity across the EU in terms of policy representation and impacts. IFM-CAP was developed by JRC in close cooperation with DG AGRI and other modelling teams, starting from 2013 with the purpose to improve the quality of agricultural policy assessments upon existing aggregate (regional, farm-group, …) models and to assess distributional effects of policies over the EU farm population. The model helps to assess the economic and environmental impacts of CAP by providing changes in land and input use, crop and animal production, farm income and CAP expenditures.

IFM-CAP can be applied for ex-ante economic and environmental impact assessment of agricultural and environmental policies at micro (farm) level. For example, IFM-CAP was applied to support the DG AGRI Impact Assessment accompanying the proposal for the CAP post 2020 (SWD/2018/301).

Among the PE models, it is important to stress the use of CAPRI (Common Agricultural Policy Regionalised Impact Modelling System) to evaluate ex-ante impacts of the CAP and related policies on production, income, markets, trade, and the environment, from global to regional scale. It supports decision making related to the CAP based on sound scientific quantitative analysis. 

CAPRI is an economic model developed with the financial support of the European Commission’s research funds and operational since 1999. Linked to the CAPRI-model, the JRC has been working to improve knowledge on the effects (including potential co-benefits) of policy measures implemented, develop the model to improve the representation of technical and management-based farming practices, as well as other topics, such as pesticides use and organic farming, and explore avenues to incorporate the impact of food waste reductions and changes in diets.

CAPRI offers projections and scenario work on economic and environmental outcomes for medium and long-term perspectives, so far up to 2085. The focus is often on linkages of environmental issues, including emissions of greenhouse gases, ammonia, nutrient balances and biodiversity indicators to the EU’s CAP and other policies affecting the agricultural sector.

The Tools4CAP Academy seeks to organise a training module in 2024 focusing on these models to help end-users understand their use in the design and monitoring of the CAP. Keep you informed and do not miss the opportunity and get involved in Tools4CAP!

More information:
  • European Commission, Joint Research Centre, 2023. “iMAP, Integrated Modelling platform for Agro-economic and resource Policy analysis – Tools to assess MS CAP strategic plans on environment and climate performance” https://wikis.ec.europa.eu/display/IMAP/IMAP+Home+page“, version October 2023.
  • Article: Barreiro-Hurle J., Fellman, T., and M’barek R. (2024) Modelling in Support of Better Agricultural and Food Policies: the JRC’s Integrated Agro-economic Modelling platform (iMAP), Eurochoices (early view) https://doi.org/10.1111/1746-692X.12421
  • Fellmann et al. (2023). Agro-economic-environmental modelling in the context of the Green Deal and sustainable food systems – The iMAP view. https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC135313
  • Impacts of farming practices on the environment and the climate: synthesis of published scientific evidence, here.
  • Modelling Inventory and Knowledge Management System of the European Commission (MIDAS), here.
  • Data-Modelling platform of resource economics: here.


The views expressed in this post are purely those of the authors and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission.