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Global Harvest Initiative Launches 2010 GAP Report™ at World Food Prize
On Wednesday October 13, The Global Harvest Initiative launched the 2010 GAP Report™ developed with the Farm Foundation, NFP and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economics Research Service (ERS). The GAP Report™ quantifies for the first time the difference between the current rate of global agricultural productivity growth and the pace required to meet future needs.
Doubling agricultural output to meet global demand by 2050 will require an annual average growth of at least 1.75 percent in total factor productivity (TFP), said Neil Conklin, president of the Farm Foundation, NFP and author of the report. Total factor productivity is the increase in output per unit of total resources employed in production. Between 2000 and 2007, ERS estimates global agricultural TFP growth averaged 1.4 percent per year.
Bill Lesher, executive director of Global Harvest Initiative, told a group of agricultural industry and governmental leaders assembled in Des Moines for the World Food Prize Symposium that the new annual report brings the urgent need to boost the rate of global agricultural productivity growth to the forefront of world issues:
“We need to do more with less and we must start implementing measures and policies that increase productivity today,” said Lesher. “A ramp up of this order is achievable, as the public and private sectors demonstrated during the Green Revolution. Now we must provide public and private support for an Evergreen Revolution that is twice as long more an even more productive than the last— without drawing on additional natural resources and other inputs. Modern, productive agriculture has many new innovations in the pipeline. However, more must be done. With the right combination of smart policies and public/private sector investments around the globe beginning now, agriculture will be poised to sustainably meet the world’s needs in 2050.”
Neil Conklin, president of the Farm Foundation, NFP and author of the report said:
“To close the gap without additional land and resources, we must increase the rate of productivity growth an average of 25 percent more per year over the next 40 years,” said Conklin. “And, productivity will need to grow faster than that during the next two decades, when the population will be increasing more rapidly than it will as it levels off by 2050.”
Keith Fuglie, Branch Chief for Resource, Environmental and Science Policy in the Resource and Rural Economics Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, said:
“Assessing total factor productivity – the amount of output per unit of total factors, or inputs, used for production – for the entire global agricultural sector provides a more comprehensive picture of changes in resource requirements to produce farm commodities,” said Fuglie. “A 1 percent increase in TFP, for example, means that 1 percent fewer agricultural resources are required to produce a given bundle of crop and livestock outputs.”
With the first GAP Report™ released in 2010, the Global Harvest Initiative plans to update the report annually to gauge progress and with the goal of each report becoming more comprehensive and prescriptive to help better identify actions needed in different parts of the world. The signature GAP Index™ will become an important tool in measuring progress over time.