Improving Agricultural Growth Critical to Global Food Security

A New International Organization Report to the G20 Highlights Need for Improving Agricultural Productivity

Farmer plowing. Gujarat, India.

With a growing global population and rising incomes, global collaboration is urgently needed to ensure sustainable agricultural growth and food security. The issue of food security and development was first taken up at the 2010 G20 Summit in Seoul, with the 2011 G20 Action Plan providing further commitment to the goals of sustainable agricultural development. (For further information on the action items resulting from the 2011 G20 Summit, visit the Food Security Portal.)

Early in 2012 the Mexican G20 Presidency invited international organizations to examine practical actions that could be undertaken to sustainably improve agricultural productivity growth, in particular on small family farms. The preparation of this report, coordinated by the FAO and the OECD, is a collaborative undertaking by Bioversity, CGIAR Consortium, FAO, IFAD, IFPRI, IICA, OECD, UNCTAD, UN High Level Task Force on the Food Security Crisis, WFP, World Bank, and WTO.

The report, Sustainable Agricultural Productivity Growth and Bridging the Gap for Small Family Farms reviews progress made on the commitments of the 2011 G20 Summit, including the creation of the Agricultural Market Information System. Looking forward to the 2012 summit, the report’s authors emphasize the role of investment and innovation in future research and technologies to aid the adoption of more productive and sustainable agricultural solutions. The report states that “substantially reducing trade and production distorting domestic support, improving market access opportunities, eliminating export subsidies and strengthening the disciplines on export restrictions will improve the enabling environment for investment and productivity growth.”

The report notes the critical role played by IFPRI research, drawing on the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index, the Statistics of Public Expenditure for Economic Development (SPEED) Database, and the work of ASTI, as well as IFPRI’s work on climate change, food prices and price volatility, agricultural development and the global fertilizer market structure.