2018 GAP Report: Consumers transform the global food system

January 28, 2019

This press release appeared first in October 2018 on the website of the Global Harvest Initiative, the previous host institution for the GAP Report.

The 2018 Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (2018 GAP Report®): Agriculture for a Healthy Sustainable World explores the consumer trends that are transforming the food and agriculture system. The report lays out a vision for a world where people thrive, and the planet’s resources are protected for generations to come.

According to the report, today’s consumers expect much more from their agriculture and food systems than in previous generations. Through their purchases, consumers express their preferences and values and help shape decisions producers and retailers make.

In most households around the world, women are the “chief purchasing officer” and have enormous influence over the food system. Recognizing and supporting them with innovation, investment, partnerships and smart policies will be essential to achieve a hunger-free, healthy and sustainable world.

Sustainability And Food Security Are Undermined By Low Productivity Growth

The 2018 GAP Report also highlights tremendous challenges that must be surmounted. For the fifth straight year, global agricultural productivity growth is not accelerating fast enough to sustainably feed the world in 2050.

The report warns that unless this trend is reversed, the world may not be able to sustainably provide the food, feed, fiber and biofuels needed for a growing, more affluent global population.

Productivity in agriculture is not just about producing more or achieving higher yields; it makes best use of natural resources, lowers costs for farmers, reduces loss and waste in the value chain and supplies food and agriculture products for consumers at lower prices.

According to the GAP Report, global agricultural productivity must increase by 1.75 percent annually to meet the demands of nearly 10 billion people in 2050. GHI’s annual assessment of global productivity growth – the GAP Index™ – shows the current rate of growth is only 1.51 percent.

The rate of agricultural productivity growth for low-income countries is particularly troubling, reaching only 0.96 percent annually – a downward trend from 1.31 percent in 2016 and 1.24 percent in 2017. This is well below the productivity growth rate needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2) target of doubling productivity for small-scale farmers in low-income countries and achieving Zero Hunger by 2050.

Policies And Innovations For Productivity Growth Emphasized

The 2018 GAP Report® highlights innovations and practices farmers and all participants in the agriculture and food system are taking to conserve soil and water, improve the quality and safety of food and keep prices affordable for consumers. The GAP Report also examines how food wasted is productivity lost.

Improved food production relies heavily on public agricultural research and development (R&D) and extension systems as well as regulatory frameworks that incentivize risk-taking innovation and investment. The GAP Report highlights the critical investments needed in public policies such as research, improving trade, embracing science and information-technologies and public-private partnerships.

GHI presented the 2018 GAP Report findings before an audience of farmers and youth involved in agriculture, and global leaders in science, research, policy and private industry attending the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa.

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