* Global farm productivity edged up in 2011 but uneven
* Challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa remains "daunting"
* Group estimates $90 bln/year needed for agriculture
By Christine Stebbins
DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct 12 Global agricultural
productivity is rising but more effort is needed to meet the
world's long-term food needs, a group of agribusiness leaders
advised on Wednesday.
"While the new evidence of faster productivity growth for
this year is welcome, it does not alleviate the concern or
urgency about addressing the pace of agricultural development
in parts of the world where much of the population increase
will take place, especially Sub-Saharan Africa," the group,
called the Global Harvest Initiative (GHI), said.
Funding needed to boost agriculture in all developing
countries was estimated at $90 billion a year, it said.
The group, founded in 2009 by crop processor Archer Daniels
Midland , seed giants DuPont and Monsanto , and farm equipment maker John Deere ; issued its
annual report at the World Food Prize Forum that opened here on
The United Nations in May projected world population to
rise to more than nine billion people by 2050 from seven
billion today. About 49 percent of that growth is projected in
sub-Saharan Africa and another 41 percent in Asia.
"Both of which are low income areas with relatively low
levels of agricultural productivity," the report said.
At present, the report added, there are nearly one billion
people who lack access to safe and adequate daily food and 20
percent of the world population lives "on less than $1.25 a
The group calculates that an index, called Total Factor
Productivity, needs to grow 1.75 percent a year until 2050 to
meet food needs based on population projections. A 1 percent
increase in TFP means that 1 percent fewer ag resources are
required to produce a given output of crops or meat.
The index rose 1.74 percent in 2011 compared with 1.4
percent in 2010, GHI said. But it spotlighted uneven regional
trends. TFP for sub-Saharan Africa was averaging 0.85 percent,
for instance, compared to above 2 percent in Brazil and China.
SUPPORTIVE POLICY AND FUNDING NEEDED
Current food production trends "indicate the need for a
substantial increase in food production, as well as
improvements in both domestic agricultural production patterns
and trade flows, in order to meet the needs of changing dietary
patterns," including more meat and dairy consumption, it said.
Removing trade barriers was key because by 2050 a larger
fraction of agricultural production will need to move through
trade since the world population distribution by region is not
the same as the distribution of arable land, the report said.
"Regions like North America, South America, Europe and
Oceania have a higher proportion of arable land and will
continue to be a source of agricultural output for other
regions, including Asia," the GHI report said.
The report cited the economic multiplier effect of poor
countries investing in rural agriculture and the problems
caused by laborers migrating to cities rather than staying on
the land. About 50 percent of world population now lives in
cities, which is expected to rise to 70 percent by 2050.
China and Brazil were examples where an embrace of farming
technology, infrastructure like new roads, enhanced private
sector involvement and rural investment were boosting
"Countries across the globe, especially in Sub-Saharan
Africa, must actively invest in agricultural research, reduce
trade barriers, and embrace science-based technologies and
innovation while working to establish a business environment to
attract private capital," the report concluded.