Report Shows World Ag Productivity Not Increasing Fast Enough

by Colter Brown

A report from Virginia Tech shows that global agriculture production is not on pace to meet the demand to feed 10 billion people by 2050. 

The annual Global Agricultural Productivity (GAP) report says ag efficiency has not been achieving benchmarks to meet sustainable goals.  It’s measured through total factor productivity (TFP), which calculates producer output while using the same or less inputs like land, labor, capital or fertilizer.

From 2011-21, global total factor productivity, a measure of the world’s agricultural productivity, grew at an average of just 1.14% annually, the report says. To meet the agricultural needs of a growing global population by 2050, 1.91% annual growth is the new target, the report continues.

“We already have a lot of proven tools available that would help us close the productivity gap. But there are inequalities in the system, ineffective policies, and significant barriers for farmers to access and use these tools — gender, socioeconomic status, risk, to name a few,” said Jessica Agnew, associate director of CALS Global. “These barriers also impact farmer livelihoods, food security, and environmental health by causing farmers to use substandard and effective tools instead.”

The report says total factor productivity growth continues to be strong in China and South Asia. However, Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.S. show especially low TFP growth.

The report says that if producers across the globe are able to access proven, appropriate, productivity-enhancing tools, there can be significant improvements in closing the TFP growth gap. Lack of growth may result in over-reliance on unsustainable production practices and continued decline in TFP growth.



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