GHI Report Rates Africa Low On Productivity Growth

By Abdallah el-Kurebe/Iowa, USA
DES MOINES, Iowa – October 16, 2013 – The Global Harvest Initiative released today has indicated that the current rate of productivity growth suggests that the continent would only meet 25 percent of food demand by 2050.

The report, released at its forth annual Global Agricultural Productivity Report (GAP Report) at the World Food Prize Symposium read before audience of scientists, agricultural industry experts, farmers and development professionals in Des Moines, Iowa, United States of America.

The 2013 GAP Report revises previous food demand and agricultural productivity projections based on new data from five regions of East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Since the 2012 report, “At current rates of productivity growth, Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to meet only 25 percent of food demand in 2050,” the report states.

Also, the gap between East Asia’s food demand and agriculture production capacity narrowed slightly and the region would need to meet its growing demand through imports and continuous increases in productivity.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the overall regional production is expected to exceed demand by more than 50 percent with Brazil leading this increase in productivity. “Brazil will likely serve as a critical source of food and agricultural supply to meet the demand of China’s growing and more affluent and urban population.”

The 2013 GAP Report includes GHI’s updated index, an annual snapshot of agricultural productivity growth measured against growth in global population and food demand.

The GAP index is based on the measurement of total factor productivity (TFP), the ratio of agricultural outputs to inputs and the TFP rises when outputs remain constant, the report further said.

The GHI report found significant differences in the rate of productivity growth depending on per capita gross national income and recommended country-level policy changes.

It recommended that low-income countries should raise productivity by creating environments that friendly to new investments, technologies and practices with special focus on smallholder farmers and women. In doing this, the report further suggests, “continuing public-private partnerships and building agricultural research and extension capacity are key actions that low-income countries must take to improve TFP.”

High-income countries on the other hand should maintain “investments in science-based technologies, including advances in genomics, irrigation, mechanization and precision analytics. This the report says “will protect past gains in TFP growth and ensure that productivity does not fall behind in high-income countries.”

The overall findings of the 2013 GAP Report indicate that over the past decade,countries are managing to maintain growth in productivity on global average. “But those findings should not downplay the serious and urgent fact that we must maintain an increasing rate of global agricultural productivity year after year for the next 40 years,” Dr. Margaret Zeigler, GHI Executive Director said.

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