An annual report from Virginia Tech University shows agriculture is behind the pace of meeting the productivity needs of 2050. The 2021 Global Agricultural Productivity Report urges the acceleration of productivity growth at all production scales to meet consumers’ needs and address human and environmental well-being threats. Productivity growth remains the primary source of agricultural output growth globally.
Still, the USDA Economic Research Service’s new methodology for calculating total factor productivity reveals it is not growing as fast as previously thought. Globally, total factor productivity grew by an average of 1.36 percent annually from 2010 to 2019, well below the Global Agricultural Productivity Index target of 1.73 percent. The report says human-caused climate change has slowed global agricultural productivity growth by 21 percent since 1961.
Researchers say maximizing agriculture’s climate change mitigation potential is essential for sustainability, yet for most of the world’s producers, adapting to climate change and protecting their livelihoods is the most immediate challenge.
The National Association of Farm Broadcasting and the American Farm Bureau Federation contributed to this report.