Cereal Crop Productivity in Developing Countries: Past Trends and Future Prospects

This paper synthesizes the evidence on cereal crop productivity in developing countries over the past 30 years and looks at future prospects for productivity growth. For more than three decades we have witnessed the phenomenal growth of cereal crop productivity in the developing world. Termed the Green Revolution, the initial phase of this growth resulted from an increase in land productivity and occurred in areas of growing land scarcity and/or areas with high land values. Significant investments in research and infrastructure development, especially irrigation, were the strategic components of this increased productivity. In the post-Green Revolution period, particularly in Asia, productivity growth has been sustained through increased input use and, more recently, through more efficient use of inputs. Lately, however, indicators show a decrease in the growth rate of productivity of two of the three primary cereals, rice and wheat. The first two sections of this paper present trends on cereal crop productivity in developing countries over the last three decades. Supporting evidence includes yield and other partial factor productivity trends and a summary of studies on total factor productivity. The third section speculates on the prospects for future growth.

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Economics Working Paper 99-03

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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