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Global Harvest Initiative Unveils 2013 Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (GAP Report®)
Sustainable Pathways to Sufficient Nutritious and Affordable Food
We are faced with an agricultural imperative to supply a growing world population with sufficient nutritious and affordable food remains daunting and urgent, despite global achievements which place us on track to meet future food demand. Meeting the needs of 2050 will require a consistent and increasing rate of global agricultural productivity every year for the next four decades. These are among the key findings of the Global Harvest Initiative’s 4th Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (GAP Report®), which was released on October 16 at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa.
GHI’s signature GAP Report features the GAP Index™, which measures annual progress in meeting the global agricultural productivity growth rate necessary to sustainably provide 9 billion people in 2050 with sufficient, nutritious and affordable food.
“The overall findings of the 2013 GAP Report indicate that over the past decade, countries are managing to maintain growth in productivity on global average. But those findings should not downplay the serious and urgent fact that we must maintain an increasing rate of global agricultural productivity year after year for the next 40 years.” said Dr. Margaret Zeigler, GHI executive director.
The 2013 GAP Report® identifies three primary challenges which could impede global efforts to achieve food security goals: lagging total factor productivity (TFP) growth rates in low-income countries; barriers to regional and global agricultural trade; and low levels of investment by developing countries in agricultural research and development as a share of their agricultural GDP.
For example, Sub-Saharan Africa faces a significant productivity gap whereby at the current rate of TFP growth, only 25 percent of the region’s needs would be met by 2050. Filling this expanding food gap by 2030 will require improved cultivation and livestock practices, better quality and more precise inputs, selective expansion to high-quality agricultural lands and imports.
Other countries, such as China, will not be able to meet domestic demand, despite growth in agricultural productivity, and will need to import from countries with surpluses to fill the gap. China’s food demand is expected to grow threefold by 2030, and at their current rate of productivity China will need to meet 28 percent of this demand through imports. The 2013 GAP Report notes that trade facilitation is vital for connecting countries with growing demand, such as China, to countries with surplus, such as Brazil. Today Brazil is China’s largest trading partner.
The 2013 GAP Report also highlights the critical need for continued public investments by high-income countries in research, development and technology to be implemented by low-income countries, which lack the resources to make significant R&D investments. Access to technological advancements is essential for farmers and agro-industries in low-income countries where agriculture accounts for 29 percent of the GDP, but only invest one-ninth of what industrial countries invest in agriculture R&D.
This year’s report also demonstrates how productive and sustainable value chains contribute to food and nutrition security: they conserve the environment and natural resource base; adapt to climate change, price fluctuations and consumer needs; and improve people’s lives and livelihoods. For example, in low-income countries, a special focus on smallholder farmers and women is critical to help them participate in agricultural value chains.
“The 2013 GAP Report shows that raising productivity across all regions requires long-term investments and sustained focus if we are going to have sufficient nutritious and affordable food and agriculture.” Zeigler continued, “To more sustainably increase output from every resource we use for food production, we need greater investment in agricultural research and development, better trade agreements for facilitation of global and regional trade in agriculture, and a commitment to apply information and science-based technologies.”
For the first time, the 2013 GAP Report includes case studies that demonstrate the impact of five policy areas critical for meeting the food and nutrition needs of the future, including reducing trade barriers, promoting public- and private-sector investment, increasing investments in research, and coordinating international development assistance. Together, these policy areas help drive greater efficiency and productivity along agricultural value chains.
Several agriculture experts joined Dr. Zeigler in presenting the 2013 GAP Report at the release event, including Claudia Garcia, Senior Director, Global Market Access, Elanco; Ruth Campbell, Managing Director, Technical Learning and Standards, ACDI/VOCA; and Dr. Robert Herdt, Adjunct Professor, International Agriculture and Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University.
The Global Harvest Initiative has been focused on the importance of agricultural productivity for improving global food security since its establishment in 2009, and released its inaugural GAP Report® in 2010, creating the first ever benchmark of global agricultural productivity.