Tracking Productivity: The GAP Index™

The 2018 Global Agricultural Productivity Index™ (GAP Index™) reveals that for the fifth straight year, global agricultural productivity growth is not accelerating fast enough to sustainably meet the food, feed, fiber and fuel needs of nearly 10 billion people in 2050.

In 2010, GHI calculated that global agricultural productivity (as measured by TFP) must grow by an average rate of 1.75 percent annually to double agricultural output through productivity growth by 2050.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) estimates that since 2010, TFP growth globally has been rising by an average annual rate of only 1.51 percent.

The average annual TFP growth rate in low-income countries is particularly troubling. Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2) calls for doubling productivity for small-scale farmers in the lowest income countries.  The current rate of TFP growth in low-income countries is only 0.96 percent, down from a 1.5 percent three years ago.

If this downward trend continues, farmers in low-income, food-deficit countries (where population growth is rapidly rising) will use more land and water to increase their output, straining a natural resource base already threatened by extreme weather and climate change.

Low-income countries will need to import food but lack sufficient income to purchase enough to meet the needs of their citizens. Poor urban households will bear the brunt of higher food prices in these countries, but they will also impact low-income rural populations since they are net food buyers.

Doubling Agricultural Productivity Is The Right Goal

The previous 10 years have witnessed unprecedented demand for agricultural commodities, driven by income increases and population growth in China and India, as well as demand for biofuels stimulated by high energy prices.

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