Delivering food security through small-scale farmers – lessons from Brazil

Grantham Scholar Dr Cecilie Dyngeland researched Brazil’s Zero Hunger programme and how it affected food security, deforestation and ecosystems.

Where are they now? Grantham Scholars after they graduate

Cecile now works at Inland Norway University and this is their logo
Cecilie now works at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences.

In 2021 Cecilie joined research project TaigaClimate about future forests led by Inland Norway University of Life Sciences.

Before this, in 2020, Cecilie became part of the Grazing in Carnivore Forests project, at the faculty of Applied Ecology, Agricultural Sciences and Biotechnology at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. This four year research project will look at sheep and cattle grazing in carnivore forests for sustainable production of food, timber and biodiversity.


Policy briefing

After leaving the Grantham Centre, Cecile continued her work in sustainability and social protection. When she needed funding for a paper, we were happy to be able to help.

The result was one the largest studies on the sustainability implications of social protection and a policy briefing on the same subject. We interviewed Cecilie to find out more. You can read the interview with Cecilie here.


Global food production and nutrition by Cecilie Dyngeland. For Journal Club Grantham Scholar Cecilie Dyngeland led a discussion on a paper about global food production and nutrition.

Cecilie’s project at the Grantham Centre

Small-scale farmers in developing countries farm significant amounts of land and contribute disproportionately to national food production. Despite this, the poorest and most malnourished people in the developing world are small-scale farmers. They drive both conflict and potential solutions to societal and environmental concerns, and must be supported if food security is to be improved in developing regions.

In 2003, Brazil implemented a series of ambitious policies called the Zero Hunger programme to tackle poverty and food security, and results suggest that the country’s Millennium Development goal of eradicating extreme hunger by 2015 was met six years ahead of schedule.

This project focuses on Brazil overall and the Cerrado and Atlantic Forest regions in the state of Minas Gerais in particular, as this is an important agricultural centre and biodiversity hotspot. Remote sensing and socio-economic data on a national level will be combined with detailed data from individual farms in the Cerrado and Atlantic regions.

These will be used to examine 3 interrelated areas of Brazil’s Zero Hunger programme: agricultural indicators of food security (e.g. agricultural expansion and investment); socio-economic indicators of food security (e.g. infant malnutrition); deforestation and its effects on the benefits from ecosystems that are crucial for long-term food security.


Brazilian Land Registry Impacts on Land Use Conversion. / Jung, Suhyun; Dyngeland, Cecilie; Rausch, Lisa; Rasmussen, Laura Vang. In: American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2021

Assessing multidimensional sustainability: Lessons from Brazil’s social protection programs. Cecilie Dyngeland, Johan A. Oldekop, and Karl L. Evans. PNAS August 25, 2020 117 (34) 20511-20519

Briefing paper based on a study by Dyngeland, Oldekop & Evans – Interactions across SDGs from rural social protection programmes: lessons from Brazil.

Cecilie’s project was in collaboration with the Sheffield Institute of International Development and the João Pinheiro Research Foundation in Brazil.


Dr Karl Evans

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences


Dr Chasca Twyman

Department of Geography

Dr Johan Oldekop

School of Environment, Education and Development