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KNUTSON: Sobering news for agriculture (and the world)

With harvest under way, you probably missed the announcment earlier this week: For the third year in a row, the rate of global agricultural productivity hasn't grown fast enough to meet its target.

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With harvest under way, you probably missed the announcment earlier this week: For the third year in a row, the rate of global agricultural productivity hasn’t grown fast enough to meet its target.

That’s the assessment of Global Harvest Initiative, a group that promotes raising yields while also making better use of natural resources. The organization says that global ag productivity must increase by 1.75 pecent annually to feed the estimated 9.7 billion in 2050. But the current annual rate of global productivity, or GAP, is only 1.73 percent - close to the goal, but short of it nonetheless.

Skeptics, take not: Membership of the “collaborative private-sector voice for productivity growth” includes companies such as John Deere, DuPont and Monsanto. So no doubt there will be critics who claim Global Harvest Initiative’s primary motivation is selling farm machinery and chemicals. Judge for yourselves if those criticisms are valid.

But I hope we can all agree on this: the world’s population is growing, and we need to do a better job of producing food.

Global Harvest Initiaitve has several recommendations for increasing ag productivity, including strengthening the committment to public ag research and development - an issue I’ve written about a number of times, most notably  here .

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You can read the new Global Harvest Initiative report  here .

To read more of Knutson's blog, click here .

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