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Research Integrated Research on Energy, Environment and Society | IREES Research

Evaluating global food systems sustainability from a perspective of agricultural trade | Junjie Yi

Junjie Yi
Junjie Yi

Field | Discipline

  • Plant Nutrition and Soil Science
  • Food Security and Environmental Sciences
  • Sustainable Development of Global Food Systems


  • Integrated Nutrient Management
  • System Analysis
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Tele-couplings
  • Fertilizer, Soybean and Milk Production


Since the beginning of the 21st century, agricultural trade has become a vital regulatory measure to cope with global food security, climate change and scarcity of water and land resources. Behind the international trade, the global food systems are separately studied and managed. To reveal the integration between the agricultural products, the natural resources and environment, to provide a systematic and comprehensive strategy for the sustainable development of global food systems from the view of agricultural trade, this research will study the impact of increasing dairy products consumption on the local and global nitrogen cycles and on land and water use. The research is divided into four different parts: fertilizer, soybean, milk and finally global food systems.

Firstly, to analyze the fertilizer trade between China and Brazil which mainly focus on impact on industrial fertilizer manufacture in China. Secondly, to analyze the soybean trade between Brazil and Netherlands which mainly focus on impact on soybean production in Brazil. Thirdly, to analyze the milk powder trade between Netherlands and China which mainly focus on impact on milk production in Netherlands. Finally, to identify options to improve the sustainability of global food system from the perspective of agricultural trade.

Under the framework of global food systems, a global milk system with the lowest overall environmental impact will be defined. It should include different considerations like: what is the best country/location for producing fertilizer/livestock feed? Should the milk be produced near the consumer, then the feed has to be transported, or near where the feed is produced, then the dairy should be transported? Is there an optimal milk consumption level from an environmental point of view? What are the financial consequences of a more environmental sound global dairy system?

The research is funded by China Scholarship Council (CSC) and Graduate School of University of Groningen.

Supervision by

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Last modified:11 April 2023 10.09 a.m.