South Africa is a major producer and exporter of agricultural products. The diversified agricultural sector produces a wide variety of agricultural commodities based on both large-scale commercial farming and small-scale family farms. However, pockets of food insecurity persist with more than 10 % of households experiencing hunger.

Global food production needs to be increased by 60–110% between 2005 and 2050 to meet growing food and feed demand. Intensification and/or expansion of agriculture are the two main options available to meet the growing crop demands. Land conversion to expand cultivated land increases GHG emissions and impacts biodiversity and ecosystem services. Closing yield gaps to attain potential yields may be a viable option to increase the global crop production. Traditional methods of agricultural intensification often have negative externalities.

The methodology and results reported in this study form a first comprehensive and integrated global ecological