Optimization of arable land use to guarantee food security in Estonia
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Agricultural and food sector has an important role to play in ensuring food security. A competitive agricultural sector warrants fo od security through increasing level of self - sufficiency in food, and export of surplus production in the sub - branches where it has a comparative advantage. One of the strategic tasks of the state is to secure food supply for the population. To perform thi s task, the state should estimate if the agricultural producers have the necessary capacity and resources to produce food to meet the needs of population. Mathematical modelling can be used as a tool in solving this analytical problem. The paper demonstrat es possibilities of implementing linear programming model in optimizing the use of arable land for ensuring the food demand of Estonian population. The Estonian arable land use optimization model is essentially a static balancing model that simulates the d emand and supply of basic food products (meat, dairy products, cereal products and potatoes). The basis for the demand side in the model is Estonian population, divided into 10 groups according to gender and age. The energy and protein needs of the respect ive population groups are taken into account. The supply side of the model is a typical agricultural production model that guarantees the consistency of crop and livestock farming. The model consists of 163 variables and 178 constraints (equations). The ob jective of the model is to minimize the use of arable land for field crops to ensure fodder for animal feed, and food for human food consumption. The model is used to analyse various land use strategies. According to the modelling results for ensuring food security of Estonia and to maintain export of dairy products, for which Estonia has a comparative advantage, in the 2016 volume, the total optimal arable land equals to 490,688 ha . There should be 83,600 dairy cows (with average milk yield 9,000 kg cow - 1 ) . It is necessary to grow 755,700 piglets per year in order to secure 40 kg of pork per inhabitant. Land use optimization results indicate that Estonian agriculture is able to supply Estonian people with the minimum necessary main food products to guarante e food security, and allows to export essential products (cheese, butter, skimmed milk powder, whole milk powder).