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Agricultural Production, Productivity and R&D over the Past Half Century: An Emerging New World Order

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  • Pardey, Philip G.
  • Alston, Julian M.
  • Chan-Kang, Connie

Abstract

Recent trends in farm productivity and food prices raise concerns about whether the era of global agricultural abundance is over. Agricultural R&D is a crucial determinant of agricultural productivity and production, and therefore food prices and poverty. In this paper we review past and present agricultural production and productivity trends and present entirely new evidence on investments in public agricultural R&D worldwide as an indicator of the prospects for agricultural productivity growth over the coming decades. The agricultural R&D world is changing, and in ways that will definitely affect future global patterns of poverty, hunger and other outcomes. The global picture is mixed. In the world as a whole crop yield growth has slowed. In high-income countries productivity growth has slowed significantly, and real spending on agricultural R&D is being reduced. In China, and other middle-income countries, spending on agricultural R&D is being ramped up and productivity growth has not slowed. The overall picture is one in which the middle-income countries are growing in relative importance as producers of agricultural innovations through investments in R&D and have consequently better prospects as producers of agricultural products.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil with number 131824.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae12:131824

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Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy; Productivity Analysis; Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies;

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  1. Pardey, Philip G. & Kang, M. Sandra & Elliott, Howard, 1989. "Structure of Public Support for National Agricultural Research Systems: A Political Economy Perspective," Agricultural Economics: The Journal of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 3(4), December.
  2. Pardey, Philip G. & Sandra Kang, M. & Elliott, Howard, 1989. "Structure of public support for national agricultural research systems: A political economy perspective," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 3(4), pages 261-278, December.
  3. Gert-Jan Stads & Nienke M. Beintema, 2009. "Public Agricultural Research in Latin America and the Caribbean: Investment and Capacity Trends," IDB Publications 33378, Inter-American Development Bank.
  4. Pardey, Philip G. & Beintema, Nienke M. & Dehmer, Steven & Wood, Stanley, 2006. "Agricultural research: a growing global divide?," Food policy reports 17, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Pardey, Philip G. & Beintema, Nienke M., 2002. "Slow Magic: Agricultural R&D A Century After Mendel," Working Papers 14364, University of Minnesota, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy.
  6. Keith O. Fuglie, 2008. "Is a slowdown in agricultural productivity growth contributing to the rise in commodity prices?," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 431-441, November.
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