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Key Messages and Executive Summary

The innovations and practices that drive agricultural productivity growth, also promote resilience in our food and agriculture production systems.  In a time of pandemics, investing in productivity growth is taking on a new urgency.

Image of cover of 2020 GAP Report

Film: Agricultural Productivity in a Time of Pandemics – Stories from the Front Lines

Pandemics are global challenges and require action and innovation at every level, from the smallest of smallholder farmers to global policymakers. In a film produced in conjunction with the 2020 GAP Report, Agricultural Productivity in a Time of Pandemics: Stories from the Front Lines, agricultural producers and experts share their experiences and challenges in improving their productivity, responding to pandemics, and adapting to climate change.

The film can be viewed in English, Spanish, French, Hindi, and Kiswahili.

1. The Resilience Imperative —
A Pandemic-Scale Challenge

Agricultural communities battle pandemic-scale pest and disease outbreaks every year. The health and productivity of people, livestock, and crops are vulnerable. The Global Agricultural Productivity Imperative describes pandemic-scale threats that must be addressed to sustainably produce food, feed, fiber, and bioenergy for 10 billion people in 2050.

2. Cultivating Productivity in a Time of Pandemics

For chronically food-insecure countries, such as India, Pakistan, and Mexico, the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s brought high-yielding seed varieties, irrigation, mechanization, and increased availability of fertilizer and crop protection products. Widespread adoption of these technologies drove a surge in food crop production that saved hundreds of millions of lives.

As agricultural technologies and practices have improved, producers of all scales have used their inputs more efficiently and sustainably.

Agricultural productivity is not just essential for sustainably meeting the demands of a growing world. The technologies and practices that increase productivity can also be harnessed to cultivate resilience, especially to pandemics that can strike with little warning, with catastrophic results.

3. Productivity, a “No-Regret” Investment in a Time of Pandemics

Total Factor Productivity is a measure of efficiency, but it is also a strong indicator of the capacity to manage risk. The recent OECD review of literature on agricultural resilience calls appropriate investments in agricultural productivity growth a “no-regret” strategy to strengthening resilience. The report recommends investments in, “the provision of information, education, infrastructure, and research and development,” all of which are essential public goods advocated for in the GAP Report.

Photo credit: ICRISAT
Photo: Bayer Crop Science

Stories: Partnerships for Productivity and Resilience

Partnerships are essential building blocks for human and social capital. They provide access to knowledge and tools that help individual producers improve their productivity, while strengthening the networks and community bonds that are essential to success, especially in a time of pandemics. Here, the Supporting and Consultative Partners of the GAP Report share stories of their work around the world.

Expert Essays: Filling the GAPs

How do we close the agricultural productivity gap and get back on track to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals ? This year, the GAP Report editors invited scholars and experts to submit essays based upon their research about strategies for closing the productivity gap and increasing agricultural sustainability and resilience.

Photo of a greenhouse

GAP Report Supporting Partners

The GAP Report is supported by investments from 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.

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