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2013 GAP Report® – Sources of Growth in Agricultural Output: Variation by Income
There is considerable variation in the sources of growth in agricultural output across countries, particularly when considering country income level.14 The following figures reflect the impact of income as well as available investments made in agricultural research and development, rural infrastructure improvements and extension of technologies and innovations to the farm level.
High-income countries, such as the United States, Australia, Canada and European nations, have already achieved significant gains in TFP growth and now must maintain investments to ensure productivity does not fall behind. Science-based technologies, including advances in genomics, irrigation, mechanization, and precision analytics that optimize the timing of production and management of weather risk, all contribute to agricultural TFP growth in these countries.
Figure 5: Sources of Growth in Agricultural Output: High-Income Countries (1961-2010)
Figure 6: Sources of Growth in Agricultural Output: High-Income Countries Compared to Global (1961-2010)
While low-income countries have increased their agricultural output in recent decades, TFP growth relative to other sources must continue to improve in order to minimize the impact on the natural resource base. Raising productivity in these countries will require a comprehensive approach to create enabling environments for new investments, technologies and practices. A special focus on smallholder farmers and women will be required to help them participate in more inclusive agricultural value chains. Continuing public-private partnerships and building the capacity of agricultural research and extension programs are key actions that low-income developing countries must take to improve TFP.
Figure 7: Sources of Growth in Agricultural Output: Low-Income Countries (1961-2010)
Figure 8: Sources of Agricultural Output: Low-Income Countries Compared to Global (1961-2010)
While technological progress and higher yields have been achieved in some lower-middle-income countries, quite a few, such as Nigeria and Iraq, have experienced only small increases in yield, preventing output from keeping pace with demand.15 Continued investments in research and development, adoption of improved technologies and forward-looking policies are critical for making best use of these countries’ resources.
Several upper-middle-income countries, particularly China and Brazil, have sustained robust TFP growth over the past two decades due to supportive agriculture policies and investments.16
Figure 9: Sources of Growth in Agricultural Output: Lower-Middle-Income Countries (1961-2010)
Figure 10: Sources of Growth in Agricultural Output: Upper-Middle-Income Countries (1961-2010)
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Sources of Growth in Agricultural Output: Variation by Income