GHI was founded in 2009 to be a private sector policy voice to advance productivity and sustainability in the agriculture value chains for food, feed, fiber and fuel. We believe the right policies, practices and technologies advance global food and nutrition security and the productivity we need to more sustainably feed 9.7 billion people by 2050.
We have 7 member companies: DuPont, Elanco Animal Health, John Deere, Farmland Partners, Monsanto, The Mosaic Company and Novozymes. We are joined by 14 consultative partner organizations who share their knowledge and experience in agriculture, conservation, nutrition, trade and the needs of small-scale farmers.
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“Sustainability in an Uncertain Season” is GHI’s seventh annual Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (or GAP Report®). Each year the GAP Report is released in October at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Our global agriculture and food systems face enormous challenges in the coming decades:
Population growth will increase by over 2 billion people in the next 34 years. More than half of this growth will occur in Africa, and urban areas will grow by 2.5 billion as well. Volatility in crop prices is impacting farmers and agriculture industries, creating uncertainty and economic challenges for producers. On the health front, we face new vulnerabilities due to vector-borne and zoonotic diseases. On the climate front, 4 billion people face water scarcity each year: 2 billion of these are in China and India. Rising temperatures and shifting weather patterns impact our soil and water resources. Conflict, poverty and drought have displaced more than 65 million people, the largest number since World War II.
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What is needed is a long-term commitment to the right policies, investments and science based technologies and practices: to build resilience, end hunger, improve nutrition and health, regenerate the environment, and foster an inclusive and thriving world.
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While long-term global trends point to a growing demand for food and agriculture products, we know that there are shorter-term ups and downs in the agricultural business cycle. It is important to understand what drives these cycles, so that agricultural producers and industries can build stronger, more resilient and competitive operations.
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Thanks to increases in productivity over the last century, data from USDA show real agricultural commodity prices have fallen on average about 1 percent per year, even while global population has grown to more than 7 billion. But within this long-term trend, there are ups and downs in the agriculture industry, with prices rising and falling depending on a number of factors.
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The 2016 GAP Report outlines how we can continue to build sustainable agriculture even in this uncertain season. We believe that Sustainable Agriculture Systems must: Satisfy human needs Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base Sustain the economic viability of agriculture Improve the quality of life for everyone in the ag value chain and society as a whole
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The GAP Report explores practices that producers use for providing more food, feed, fiber and biofuels. Producers can increase their output by Expanding into new land areas, Intensifying the usage of inputs by using more fertilizer, machinery, and crop protection products. Extending irrigation to cropland that previously was rain fed. Or, in recent years, producers are adopting technologies and practices that result in more output from existing or even fewer resources, measured by Total Factor Productivity, or TFP.
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At GHI, we use Total Factor Productivity to track global progress toward creating productive sustainable food systems. TFP is the ratio of agricultural outputs (all crop and livestock products) to agricultural inputs (land, labor, fertilizer, feed, machinery and livestock). TFP measures whether farmers are making better use of existing resources through improved products and practices---essentially, how innovative their operations are.
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In the GAP Report, we highlight how over the past 5 decades, TFP has accounted for a growing share of the growth in agricultural output on average. TFP, as seen in the green shaded bar, indicates that efficiency and innovation are beginning to account for a greater proportion of agricultural output worldwide.
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In high income countries, decades of public and private investments in agricultural research and extension systems and rural infrastructure, along with crop and livestock innovation, have made TFP the principal source of growth in agricultural output. Use of land in agriculture has remained the same while output has dramatically increased, allowing land to be placed in conservation use. Nevertheless, in the most recent decade we are seeing a stagnation of TFP growth, which may be a cause for concern if it is not reversed.
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In countries with a low per capita income, we see that both agricultural output and TFP are on the rise. However, a significant share of this increase in output is attributed to land expansion, as indicated by the red bar, and the use of more inputs, as seen by the growth of the orange bar.
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GHI has calculated that global agricultural productivity must grow by an average of 1.75 percent each year in order to double agricultural output through productivity by the year 2050.
GHI’s research indicates that for the 3rd straight year, global productivity is not accelerating fast enough to sustainably double agricultural output by 2050. Since 2004, productivity has been rising by a global average of 1.73 percent each year.
Especially troubling is that productivity has been stagnating in the lowest-income countries at only 1.3 percent per year, well below the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 target of doubling productivity for smallholder farmers.
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At current rates of TFP growth, many food-deficit countries will produce just a fraction of their local food demand using sustainable agricultural practices. Instead, farmers will put additional land into production, use more inputs and more water to increase their output. They will also require more trade to meet their food and agriculture requirements.
In Africa, at the current rate of TFP growth, only 12 percent of the projected food demand in 2030 will be met through sustainable practices.
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Latin America, by contrast, is becoming a global breadbasket, thanks to strong TFP growth rates.
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We know that globally, agriculture and forestry production are the source of nearly one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. Most of this comes from deforestation and land use change, methane produced by livestock, and poor soil management. And yet, farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses are in the unique position of being among the most vulnerable to climate change, while at the same time being in the best position to mitigate it!
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The GAP Report outlines some of the practices and innovations that have the potential to make agriculture a mitigation powerhouse, including -Improved crop genetics and conservation practices like cover crops -Improved nutrient management practices -Reduced and no-till agriculture systems -Water management through precision irrigation systems -Combining livestock production and food crops with agroforestry to conserve soil and store carbon -Use of feed additives and livestock management practices that reduce methane emissions and store carbon in pastures; and, -Reducing post-harvest waste and loss
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Forests play key roles in the water cycle, in soil conservation, in carbon sequestration and habitat protection, including for pollinators. Yet according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), agriculture remains the most significant driver of deforestation. Around the world, farmers and ranchers expand into native habitat, and clear forest and convert grasslands to bring new land into crop or livestock production.
In particular, in Low-Income Countries, forested areas on average are declining relative to agricultural area. The opposite is true in High-Income Countries, where productivity and improved landscape management is beginning to result in more forested area relative to agricultural area.
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Today climate change has become a leading risk factor for producers and industries along the agricultural value chain. With unpredictable growing conditions, market uncertainty arises. Yet the need to address and mitigate climate change offers businesses and producers a whole new range of opportunities. For example, Monsanto has made a commitment by 2021 to become carbon neutral, and companies such as Mosaic are partnering with rice growers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and apply fertilizer efficiently.
Private sector investment, innovation and scale will help farmers, ranchers and forest managers contribute to a low-carbon agriculture system!
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A productive, sustainable global agricultural system relies on public policies and investments that mitigate and manage the negative impacts of the agricultural business cycle for producers, consumer and the environment. Policies and practices must be adopted that reduce waste and loss in the value chain and create opportunities for economic growth and innovation.
GHI has identified five strategic policy goals which are explored in detail in this year’s report: Invest in Public Agricultural Research, Development and Extension Embrace, Customize and Disseminate Science-Based and Information Technologies Enhance Private Sector Involvement in Agriculture and Infrastructure Development Cultivate Partnerships for Sustainable Agriculture and Improved Nutrition Foster Capacity for Regional and Global Agricultural Trade
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Public agricultural R&D and extension programs are an essential public good and are the principal drivers of innovation systems and Total Factor Productivity.
Countries with robust agricultural research and extension systems with the capacity to produce and disseminate a steady stream of innovations suitable for local farming systems have higher TFP growth rates than countries that do not make these investments.
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In the United States, Public Agricultural R&D investment has begun to decline relative to past years and to the investments from the private sector.
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United States public investment in AG R&D has begun to decline, while other competitor countries have increased their investments.
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Extension systems are the conduit which connects farmers with the innovations and practices developed through public and private sector R&D. The GAP Report highlights approaches to improving and extending agricultural knowledge.
In Tanzania, the Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative brings together government, universities in Tanzania and U.S., the private sector, and development agencies to increase the opportunities for women in agricultural R&D and extension. GAP REPORT PAGES 31-32.
In the United States, cooperative extension programs are engaging with social networks of farmers in the Midwest corn belt and providing online tools (Useful To Usable) that help farmers and crop advisors manage increasingly variable weather and climate conditions and reduce farmer costs. GAP REPORT PAGE 34
In Ghana and Kenya, John Deere is partnering with Technoserve to bring locally-tailored information on maize and rice production to rural farmers. GAP REPORT PAGE 35
And the Republic of Georgia, in a partnership led by the University of Illinois, is retooling and expanding their public agricultural extension system. GAP REPORT PAGE 35
55 percent of the worlds arid and semi-arid drylands with rainfed farming potential are located in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, in areas characterized by populations with low nutrition levels and high rates of poverty.
DuPont Pioneer is partnering with research institutions in India and Africa to improve the nutritional quality and drought tolerance of pearl millet and sorghum, two crops that thrive in dryland areas and can be used for human and animal consumption. GAP REPORT PAGE 33
Science-based and information technologies help producers manage the ever-present risks they face, while improving their productivity and competitiveness, with wide-ranging social and economic benefits.
Biotechnologies protect crops against stress such as drought and pests, genetic improvements and disease management keep livestock healthy and productive. Efficient irrigation and cultivation techniques improve water productivity. Innovative storage technologies reduce post-harvest loss.
Information technologies allow farmers to access vital information on market prices, weather and soil health. Precision agriculture and data management tools help producers reduce costs and conserve scarce resources. Bio-innovation in agriculture has broad benefits for the environment and the economy.
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Smart, science-based regulatory systems that keep pace with rapidly changing innovations in science and technology can foster the development and adoption of new innovations and practices. The GAP Report describes how regulatory systems can: Promote innovation, entrepreneurship and competitiveness Protect natural resources and the environment Ensure consumer health and safety, and build trust
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Smart regulatory systems contribute to innovation and productivity when all the participants responsibly engage in the practice and understanding of science and technology. Farmers practice good stewardship of the technologies and practices; industry works within regulatory frameworks; government consults with relevant parties and establishes clear, science-based regulatory practices; media responsibly explain agricultural policies and innovation; and consumers seek factual information to make informed decisions.
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New paradigms are emerging that acknowledge the symbiotic and complex interactions between humans, animals and the environment. Science-based and information technologies are part of a toolbox that can help foster healthy people, healthy animals and a healthy planet.
Elanco Animal Health supports a One Health strategy, and is developing technologies and animal care practices that prioritize prevention, intervention and rehabilitation to improve health and reduce disease in people and in animals.
This is the era of “precision conservation”, where monitors and sensors can notify farmers of potential problems before they spread and maximize the use of water, fertilizer and herbicides all of which protect the environment. Companies such as John Deere are innovating to help farmers better use their own data to improve productivity of their farms and livestock operations.
Bio-innovation research from companies such as Novozymes harnesses the power of micro-organisms and enzymes that naturally improve processes across many sectors, including agriculture. Agricultural biologicals are part of a growing suite of tools that farmers can use to improve yields of crops, help livestock health, and improve the environment.
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DuPont Pioneer is collaborating with Africa Harvest and other CGIAR institutions to develop bio-fortified sorghum and millet. These bio-fortified crops can improve human nutrition and serve as a complementary tool, alongside dietary diversity and fortification, as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce undernutrition, particular for small-scale, resource-poor farmers.
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In order to maximize our investments in agricultural R&D and science-based innovations, we need to improve and extend our infrastructure for transportation, electricity, finance and communications.
We also need to ensure that farmers can make affordable capital investments in their own operations so they can improve their productivity and competitiveness.
The GAP Report looks at the policies and strategies for addressing both of these concerns, as well as the role that private sector actors, of all scales, can play in improving infrastructure and developing sustainable agricultural value chains.
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A sustainable agricultural infrastructure starts with secure, affordable access to the indispensable inputs – land, water, improved seeds and crop protection products.
For millions of small-scale farmers, increasing sustainability and reducing uncertainty begins with securing the legal right to own, buy, sell, and cultivate their land. GAP REPORT PAGES 49-50
Improved seeds, fertilizer, crop protection products and weather index insurance enable farmers to maximize their productivity and reduce their risk. Agro-dealer networks can play an influential role in educating farmers about the benefits of improved inputs and best practices for planting and cultivating their crops. GAP REPORT PAGE 51
As the climate changes, harvesting water is as important as harvesting crops. In India, seasonal monsoons are followed by long, dry periods, making it difficult to maintain an adequate groundwater supply. The Mosaic Company Villages Project, a partnership between The Mosaic Company and the Sehgal Foundation is building dams, which capture rainwater and funnel it into underground aquifers so it can be used year-round for irrigation and for consumption. GAP REPORT PAGE 50
Reducing risk and expanding opportunities for farmers in the U.S. is also critical, especially during this phase of the business cycle. U.S. farmland and rangeland is some of the most productive and expensive agricultural land in the world. It is often kept in families and is rarely available on the open market. USDA projected that between 2014 and 2019, about 21 million acres of agricultural land will be sold on the open market.
Given the high cost of land, it doesn’t make financial sense for farmers like Charlie Baucom, owner of Brentwood Farms in North Carolina, to expand their operations by purchasing additional acreage. Instead, Charlie rents land from Farmland Partners – a publicly traded real estate investment trust. In two years, Charlies has increased the acreage he cultivates by more than 80 percent. And thanks to capital investments by Farmland Partners to improve the land, Charlie has doubled his yields of corn per acre and his soybean yields by 30 percent.
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So how do we strengthen our agricultural infrastructure and make it more productive and sustainable?
We need to connect large-scale infrastructure investments with the people who rely on them to improve their productivity and access markets.
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Following the food price crisis in 2007/2008, multilateral institutions, governments and industries established public-private partnerships (or PPPs) to increase the productivity and sustainability of agricultural production and improve the nutrition and livelihoods of small-scale producers.
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Recently, the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) published a blueprint for Public-Private-Producer Partnerships that advocates for the inclusion of producer groups in the design, management, monitoring and evaluation of partnerships for sustainable agriculture.
By including producers from the beginning, partnerships can incorporate the knowledge of local growing conditions and address community concerns and goals build local ownership by making producers full partners in the project improve project sustainability and build leadership
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The GAP Report shows the critical role of women in partnerships for sustainable agriculture and nutrition. The report highlights the challenges that women face in accessing inputs, markets and control over their income, as well as strategies that can overcome these obstacles.
For instance, women farmer cooperatives are a market-based approach to improving the productivity of women farmers and giving them greater authority over what they produce, how they produce it and where the income is spent or invested.
We discuss various pathways for improving nutrition through agriculture and their impact on women’s time and resources.
Finally, we look at opportunities for women to develop business as processors and distributors of nutritious cereal grain products.
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Improving trade in agriculture and food products is an integral part of meeting global food security needs and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The GAP report draws attention to the need for trade agreements that harmonize standards for agricultural inputs, such as improved seeds, and to ensure that land, water, forests and wildlife are sustainably managed and protected, even as agricultural production and trade increases.
Improving infrastructure for global and regional trade will enable consumers around the world to access a wider variety of foods, as well as staple foods at competitive prices. Trade creates employment opportunities along the agricultural value chain and in supporting industries.
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The GAP report also draws attention to the need for trade agreements that harmonize standards for agricultural inputs, such as improved seeds, and to ensure that land, water, forests and wildlife are sustainable managed and protected, even as agricultural production and trade increases. Safety nets are also important for individuals and communities that may be negatively impacted by some trade agreements.
In addition to harmonizing standards, we need to build the capacity of countries to facilitate complex trade agreements and meet the new global standards, in areas like food safety. The report provides examples of how training and capacity building will be required to ensure long supply chains that are safe and sustainable.
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The policies priorities we have described encompass a diverse set of challenges and opportunities, and yet they are closely linked and interdependent. The global value chain for pulses is a great way to see how these policies interact in different agricultural contexts to achieve sustainability and improve productivity.
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2016 GAP Report® Presentation
GHI MEMBER COMPANIES
GLOBAL AGRICULTURAL IMPERATIVE
RISING CONFLICTCHANGING CLIMATE
GROWING DEMAND VULNERABLE HEALTH
With the right policies,
AGRICULTURAL BUSINESS CYCLES
Satisfies human needs
Enhances environmental quality
and the natural resource base
Sustains the economic viability of
Improves the quality of life for
everyone in the ag value chain and
society as a whole
STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCING MORE
Increasing Efficiency with
Total Factor Productivity (TFP)
INVEST IN PUBLIC AG R&D AND EXTENSION
invested in agricultural
research in the U.S. provides
at least $10 in economic
benefits to society.
the Latin America and Caribbean
region has met the
UN recommendation to
OF AG GDP
to research and development.
Republic of Georgia
Credit: Givi Pirtskhalava/World Bank
Ghana and Kenya
Credit: Winifrida Mayilla
TO IMPROVE DRYLANDS AGRICULTURE
• Sorghum & millet thrive in
drylands, are resistant to drought
and can be used for human and
• Public-private partnerships are
improving the nutritional quality
of sorghum and millet and
strengthening the seed systems
for these crops
EMBRACE, CUSTOMIZE & DISSEMINATE
SCIENCE-BASED & INFORMATION
GMO crop technology
reduced pesticide use 37%,
increased yields 22% and
increased farmer profit 68%
SMART, SCIENCE-BASED REGULATORY SYSTEMS
Protect natural resources
and the environment
Ensure consumer health
and safety, and build trust
SMART, SCIENCE-BASED REGULATORY SYSTEMS
Government Media Consumers
HEALTHY PEOPLE=HEALTHY ANIMALS=HEALTHY PLANET
ONE HEALTH PRECISION CONSERVATION BIO-INNOVATION
Source: The BioAg Alliance
BIOFORTIFICATION FOR BETTER NUTRITION
• Micronutrient malnutrition impacts
2 billion people every year, resulting
in stunted growth, low resistance to
disease, chronic illness and reduced
• Biofortification of crops such as
sorghum and millet, allow people to
grow fortified foods for themselves
ENHANCE PRIVATE SECTOR INVOLVEMENT IN
AGRICULTURE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
In low- and middle-income countries,
78% OF AG INVESTMENTS
are capital investments
MADE BY FARMERS THEMSELVES.
There is a
in low- and middle-income countries.
Credit: Kelly Winquist/John Deere
Improved Seeds, Fertilizer and
Credit: Ann Steensland/GHI
Water, Irrigation and Mechanization
Credit: The Mosaic Company
SHARING RISK – EXPANDING OPPORTUNITY
Project Ownership Transfer of
U.S. Farmland (2014-2019)
Credit: Charlie Baucom
Infrastructure and Finance
Credit: Graham Crouch/World Bank
A ROLE FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR
SystemsValue Chain Development
Cultivate Partnerships for Sustainable
Agricultural Growth and Improved Nutrition
U.S. government has leveraged
IN PRIVATE SECTOR
to address poverty, agricultural
development and food security.
Agricultural yields would
INCREASE BY 30%
IF WOMEN HAD
to productive inputs.
The 4Ps: Public-Private-Producer Partnerships
Why include producers?
To gain knowledge of local
agroecological conditions and address
community concerns and goals
To build local ownership by making
producers full partners in the project
design, management, monitoring and
To improve project sustainability
through leadership capacity building
Credit: SoilCares Foundation
Women Farmer Cooperatives
WOMEN ARE THE KEY
Partners in Improving Nutrition
Out of the
Credit: Feed the Future Innovation Lab for
Food Processing and Post-Harvest Handling
EXPAND REGIONAL AND GLOBAL TRADE AND
COST OF GLOBAL TRADE BY
GLOBAL INCOME BY
In Southern and Eastern Africa
have access to
QUALITY IMPROVED SEEDS
MAKING TRADE WORK NOW…AND IN THE FUTURE
Keeping Labor and the Environment in Focus
Building Capacity for Ensuring Food
Investing in Trade Infrastructure