The Case for Productivity

Invigorating agricultural systems for the twenty-first century

Accelerating global agricultural productivity growth at all scales of production is imperative to meet the needs of consumers and address threats to human and environmental well-being.

During the next 30 years, the world’s population will grow larger and more prosperous.

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Demand will soar for food and agricultural goods, including meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables, timber, oilseeds for cooking and industrial uses, and biomass for energy, heat, and cooking.

At the same time, the natural resource base and ecosystems that support agricultural production are under stress from climate change, soil degradation, and poor water management.

Poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition remain stubbornly high, condemning hundreds of millions of people to ill health and unfulfilled potential.

Productivity growth is driven by innovative agricultural technologies, improved practices, and attention to ecosystem services and biodiversity.

WHAT IS PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH?

In agriculture, productivity is measured as Total Factor Productivity, or TFP.  An increase in TFP indicates that more crops, livestock, and aquaculture products were produced with the same amount, or less, land, labor, fertilizer, machinery, feed, and livestock.

INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY IS ABOUT MORE THAN SCALE

TFP grows when producers increase output using improved technologies and practices, such as advanced seed varieties, precision mechanization, efficient nutrient and water management techniques, and improved animal care practices. Using agricultural inputs efficiently to generate more output reduces agriculture’s environmental impact and lowers costs for producers and consumers.

Traditionally, high-income countries with large-scale farms and connections to global markets are the most efficient.

Yet productivity growth is possible at all scales of production.

PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH AROUND THE WORLD

BRAZIL

Using the latest improvements in precision agriculture and data analytics, in combination with high-yielding, herbicide-tolerant crops, a large-scale farmer in Brazil can produce soy for the global market without cutting down forests to increase output.

KENYA

With healthier feed and improved housing, a small-scale dairy farmer selling to local markets in Kenya can increase milk output using fewer animals and generating less methane emissions.

INDIA

By cultivating mangos with drip irrigation, a farmer in India can harvest a robust crop using less land and water.

VIETNAM

Integrating pig, feed crop, and aquaculture production enables a small-scale farmer in Vietnam to sustainably increase output and diversify income sources.

WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T PRIORITIZE PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH

TFP needs to increase by an average of 1.73 percent each year to sustainably meet consumer needs in 2050,

but the world is not keeping pace with this target.

A CALL TO ACTION

Strategic policies, Investments, and partnerships support and accelerate productivity growth.

INVEST
in public agricultural R&D and extension systems

Public-sector agricultural R&D and extension systems, generate innovation and information that farmers of all scales need to sustainably increase productivity and resilience.

EMBRACE
science- and information-based technologies and practices

Science- and information-based technologies and practices enable producers of all scales to increase output, control costs, and manage risk

IMPROVE
infrastructure and market access for agricultural inputs and outputs

Access to markets for agricultural inputs, outputs, and services supports economic growth, diminishes waste and loss, and reduces costs for producers and consumers.

CULTIVATE
partnerships for sustainable agriculture and improved nutrition

Public-private producer partnerships support sustainable, equitable agricultural development, reduce poverty, and improve
human health.

EXPAND
and improve regional and global trade

Forward-looking trade agreements facilitate the cost-effective movement of agricultural inputs, products, and services to the people who need them.

REDUCE
post-harvest loss and food waste

Reducing loss and waste increases the availability and affordability of nutritious food and decreases the pressure on land and water resources.

SUPPORTING PARTNERS

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.

Partner Case Study: Partner Name
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