Productivity Growth in Global Agriculture Shifting to Developing Countries

Improving agricultural productivity has been the world’s primary defense against a recurring Malthusian crisis— where needs of a growing population outstrip the ability of humankind to supply food. Over the last half-century, world population doubled while food supply tripled, even as land under cultivation grew by only 12% (FAO, 2012). It is by raising productivity, or getting more output from existing resources, that has been driving growth in global agriculture, and what has proven Malthus wrong. In fact, at the global level, the long-run trend since at least 1900 has been one of increasing food abundance—in inflationadjusted dollars, food prices fell by an average of 1% per year over the course of the 20th Century

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Journal Article
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Published in:
Choices, Volume 27, Issue 4
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JEL Codes:
Q16; O47

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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