Home 9 Tools4CAP Results 9 Tools4CAP assesses the potential of existing and innovative modelling tools

Tools4CAP assesses the potential of existing and innovative modelling tools

Mar 19, 2024 | Tools4CAP Results

Authors: Ana Gonzalez-Martinez (WUR); Roel Jongeneel (WUR); Marcel van Asseldonk (WUR); Trevor Donnellan (Teagasc)

Editor: Miranda García (AEIDL)

Over the last months, the Tools4CAP project has focused on reviewing the different sustainability goals (from an economic, environmental, social and rural perspective) and the most relevant issues associated with them (including specific CAP indicators).

The team from the Wageningen University and Research, with contributions from Teagasc, EuroCare, the University of Ljubljana, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, has identified how selected tools from the online inventory can contribute to assessing policy interventions targeted to sustainability goals. For instance, it is useful to include indicators related to carbon sequestration for the evaluation of efficient soil management.

Reviewing tool capabilities and trade-offs

Among the tools that have been included in this review, are prominent large-scale models such as AGMEMOD, CAPRI, GLOBIOM, MAGNET, and MITERRA-Europe, covering both Member States and the EU as a whole. Additionally, small-scale models addressing specific topics, products, regions, single Member States, or different farm types have been thoroughly evaluated.   

An important conclusion is that expanding a tool so that it can model ‘everything’ may not always be the most appropriate approach.  Often modellers face trade-offs regarding the level of detail which a modelling tool should capture and the coverage or range of indicators that the model should deliver. There is a risk the efforts made to expand a model can result in an overly complex tool that hampers operational utility. For instance, such models may require excessive time to solve or demand labor-intensive efforts.

Addressing gaps and future needs

The capacity boundaries of a tool or model are not always clearly defined. In some cases, the selected tools may lack capacity in specific areas. However, when one tool is linked to another, it can sometimes address questions that neither tool could tackle in isolation. To illustrate this point, we refer to some general cases. For example, a commodity market model could interact with a farm model to translate sector-level impacts into specific outcomes for different farm types. Similarly, a commodity market model interacting with an environmental model could compute the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) or ammonia emissions associated to specific market developments in primary agriculture. This approach, where different tools are working in unison, is called ‘integrated modelling use’

The comparative analysis reveals that small-scale tools tend to capture more social sustainability indicators compared to large-scale tools, although both types of tools offer greater detail concerning economic and environmental sustainability indicators. Nevertheless, many selected tools focus primarily on economic or biophysical measures, often neglecting social indicators. This gap highlights the need for more/better tools capable of estimating farmer participation in eco-schemes and agri-environment and climate measures, which would greatly enhance the policy-making process.

Guiding the future

This review lays the groundwork for the next phase of the Tools4CAP project, guiding the identification of innovative ways to leverage existing quantitative modelling tools for informed policy-making. The outcomes of this analysis will also be considered as ‘food for thought’ for the 10 case studies that will be carried out later in this project.

More information: D2.1 Assessment of the potential of existing and innovative modelling tools