MORE THAN SUSTAINABLE DIETS

The world must sustainably produce food, feed, fiber, and bioenergy for nearly 10 billion people in 2050. The food price crisis of 2007–2008 brought global attention to the complex web of environmental, economic, and human challenges that urgently need to be addressed if we are to sustainably meet that goal.

KEY MESSAGES

By accelerating productivity growth, particularly in small-and medium-scale livestock production, we can achieve global nutrition and environmental goals, while still providing consumers with the animal-source foods they need and want.

Environmental sustainability initiatives should prioritize regions experiencing rapid population growth, low rates of agricultural productivity, and significant shifts in consumption patterns — the primary drivers of unsustainable agricultural practices, such as converting forests to crop and rangeland.

Global agricultural productivity, measured as Total Factor Productivity, is growing at an average annual rate of 1.63 percent, less than the 1.73 percent required to sustainably produce sufficient nutritious food and agricultural products for 10 billion people in 2050.

Total Factor Productivity in low-income countries is alarmingly low, growing at 1.00 percent annually, far below the UN SDG target of doubling the productivity of the lowest-income farmers.

Innovative agricultural technologies and best farm management practices, combined with attention to ecosystem services, drive productivity growth and can be tailored for all scales of agricultural production.

STRATEGIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DIETS, AND MORE

Invest in public agricultural R&D, extension services, and consumer education

Public sector agricultural R&D, extension services, and consumer education programs generate innovation and information that facilitate environmentally sustainable agricultural output growth, improve human health, and support a vibrant agricultural economy.

Embrace science- and information-based technologies and practices

Science- and information-based technologies and practices enable producers of all scales to manage environmental and economic risks, by improving their sustainability, resilience, and competitiveness.

Improve infrastructure and market access for agricultural inputs and outputs

Efficient transportation, communications, and financial infrastructures, as well as affordable and equitable access to markets for agricultural inputs, services, and outputs, support sustainable economic growth, diminish waste and loss, and reduce costs for producers and consumers.

Public sector agricultural R&D, extension services, and consumer education programs generate innovation and information that facilitate environmentally sustainable agricultural output growth, improve human health, and support a vibrant agricultural economy.

Cultivate partnerships for sustainable agriculture, gender equity, and improved nutrition

Public-private-producer partnerships supporting agricultural development, gender equity, and nutritious food systems leverage public and private investments in economic development, natural resource management, and human health.

Expand and improve regional and global trade

Forward-looking trade agreements, including transparent policies and consistently enforced regulations, facilitate the efficient and cost-effective movement of agricultural inputs, services, and products to the people who need them.

Reduce post-harvest loss and food waste

Reducing post-harvest losses and food waste increases the availability and affordability of nutritious food, eases the environmental impact of food and agricultural production, and preserves the value of the land, labor, water, and other inputs used in the production process.

2019 GAP REPORT LAUNCH

The 2019 GAP Report was released by Virginia Tech at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 16, 2019.

About Us

The GAP Report brings together expertise from the private sector, NGOs, conservation and nutrition organizations, Virginia Tech and other universities, and global research institutions.

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GAP Report Supporting Partners

The GAP Report is supported by investments from by the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. GAP Report Supporting Partners provide financial support for the GAP Report and related activities. They offer an important perspective on critical issues facing agricultural systems in the US and around the world.

Consultative Partners

Our work is enhanced by contributions from Consultative Partners who share their knowledge and experience in agriculture, conservation, nutrition and the needs of small-scale farmers.

GAP Initiative Leadership Council and Virginia Tech Advisory Group

Leadership for the GAP Initiative is provided by the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, an external Leadership Council, and an internal advisory group of university leaders and faculty members with expertise in agricultural economics, agronomy, animal science, extension services, international development, and natural resource conservation. Members are listed here.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

2019 GAP Report benefited from the insights and contributions provided by our Virginia Tech faculty members and leaders, our sponsoring and consultative partners, government and multilateral agencies, research institutions, and non-governmental organizations. Click here for a full list of acknowledgements.

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