USA- The 2023 Global Agricultural Productivity Report, unveiled by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, underscores the critical importance of coordinated efforts to escalate agricultural productivity growth. 

The report, titled “Every Farmer, Every Tool,” sheds light on the pressing need for expanded access to technology and efficient practices for agricultural producers globally.

Agricultural productivity growth is essential to ensure food security, meet the nutritional demands of a burgeoning global population, and adhere to environmental sustainability goals.

However, recent data indicates a contraction in global agricultural productivity growth, prompting concerns about the adequacy of current efforts to sustainably boost production.

The GAP Report urges a higher annual target productivity growth rate of 1.91 percent to meet global agricultural needs without resorting to unsustainable practices.

Insufficient access to productivity-enhancing tools is identified as a key challenge that needs to be addressed through collaboration between public, private, and civil sectors.

Tom Thompson, associate dean at the college and director of CALS Global, emphasized the necessity of altering the downward trajectory of global agricultural productivity growth.

Global agricultural productivity growth has continued its downward trend. We must change this trajectory together so that we can improve and enhance food and nutrition security, sustainability, and resilience. Every farmer needs to have the tools in their hands to be as successful as possible,” Thompson said.

Sustainable productivity growth is recognized as the most effective solution to meet the demand for agricultural output and environmental goals.

Collaboration among different sectors is deemed crucial to give every farmer access to proven tools for sustainable agricultural productivity growth.

The report highlights well-established tools, including improved genetics, precision agriculture, soil health and management, integrated production systems, pest and disease management, mechanization and automation, and knowledge-sharing platforms, as potential solutions to close the productivity gap.

Panelists at the GAP Report release event emphasized the importance of providing technological opportunities to farmers globally and ensuring the effective implementation of research and development outcomes in the field.

The 2023 GAP Report proposes six data-driven policy and investment priorities to guide actionable next steps for policymakers, investors, researchers, and implementers in the agricultural productivity sphere.

These priorities focus on investing in research and development, embracing science-based technologies and practices, improving infrastructure and market access, fostering sustainable partnerships, enhancing regional and global trade, and reducing post-harvest losses and food waste.

Behavioral influences such as capability, opportunities, and motivators are recognized as critical factors affecting the adoption of productivity-enhancing tools. Policies and investments must account for these influences to drive sustainable agricultural productivity growth while considering potential external shocks and forces that may impact the continuity of agricultural innovation application.