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Pace of ag productivity needs to increase, says report

A farmer in Nepal heads to a collection center to sell her fresh harvest of vegetables. Photo courtesy of Global Harvest Initiative.

A new report says global agricultural productivity is making progress, but is still falling short of the level needed to sustainably feed the world in 2050.

In its annual report, the Global Harvest Initiative says while the rate of ag productivity growth in increasing, it is not accelerating fast enough to keep up with the growing and more affluent global population.

That may sound strange given the current huge surplus of commodities, but Doyle Karr with DuPont Pioneer and chair of the GHI board, says it’s a longer-term challenge.

“We know in the ag community you can go from surplus down to needing more,” Karr says. “So the focus of this is to take the long-term view and say, what do we need to be investing in over the long-term.”

Karr says science and innovation will be key drivers.

“But while science is universal, we know solutions are local,” he says. “So whether you’re sitting in Iowa or in Kenya or in India, you need to be thinking about, as a farmer, what are the things that I can do to increase my productivity, to meet this challenge going forward and do it in a sustainable way.”

Karr says improvements to infrastructure and regulatory systems will also be necessary to increase the rate of ag productivity.

AUDIO: Doyle Karr

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