Report: Ag production increases falling behind future demand

For the first time in several years, the annual Global Agricultural Productivity Report (GAP report) is showing agricultural production around the world is not growing fast enough to meet the expected food demand by 2050.

As reported by Agri-Pulse, if these trends continue food prices will raise thus impacting the global population, but in particular food-deficit countries and their consumers who will no longer be able to afford to import sufficient food to meet the nutritional needs of their citizens. The lack of productivity growth can also lead to less sustainable production, as growers expand farmland, potentially endangering fragile tropical forest zones and placing greater demands on existing water resources.

According to the article, the GAP Index is based on the measurement of total factor productivity (TFP), the ratio of agricultural outputs to inputs. Total factor productivity rises when outputs increase and inputs remain constant.

Since 2002, TFP has rising by an average annual rate of 1.69%. However, based on the calculations from Global Harvest Initiative (GHI), TFP must grow by an average rate of at least 1.75% annually in order to double agricultural output through productivity gains by 2050.

Although the difference in rates does not seem much different, Margaret Zeigler, executive director of GHI, says that when the rate is compounded over the next 40 years, it will fall short of the global need by 6%.

In the article, Zeigler also said that this report serves as a “call to action” for public and private sector investments in “proven strategies that boost productivity and conserve the natural resource base” and notes the “importance of public and private sector investments in agricultural research and extension in order to educate growers and increase innovation.”

In addition, the article states the following three significant productivity gaps mentioned in the GAP report:

  • In East Asia, only 67% of food demand by 2030 will be met from within the region if the current rate of productivity growth is maintained.
  • At current rates of productivity growth, Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to meet only 15% of food demand in 2030, which will require significant imports, or food assistance, or opening up new land to development that may not be suitable for sustainable production.
  • In Latin America, overall regional production is expected to exceed demand with Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay leading this increase in productivity.

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