The Global Harvest Initiative (GHI) released the first of five policy issue briefs bringing a global focus to meeting the agricultural needs of a rapidly growing global population by increasing the rate of agricultural productivity; a recent GHI report suggests that the rate of agricultural productivity must increase at a minimum of 25 percent per year to meet future demand and double output over the next 40 years.
The policy issue brief, "Improving Agricultural Research Funding, Structure and Collaboration," describes the notable returns on agricultural research and the role of research as a primary source of the innovation and productivity gains necessary to sustainably grow more and better food, help alleviate global poverty and hunger, and address food security issues.
The issue brief also highlights key research areas such as more efficient water use and the reduction of post-harvest losses, and notes that public sector research investments must be on par with private sector research to achieve significant increases in the rate of production worldwide.
"If we are to feed the nine billion people that will share this planet by 2050, we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000, and research will be critical," said Dr. Jason Clay, World Wildlife Fund Senior Vice President of Market Transformation. "Research is a first step in acquiring data to measure our real impact and identify alternatives. Half of the world's farmers are producing below average results and cannot even feed their own families. Learning how to leverage research and data is critical to stimulate innovation, identify new ideas and improve productivity." World Wildlife Fund is one of several consultative partners that share GHI's goal of sustainably closing the global agricultural productivity gap.
"With a surging global population and new demands on food crops, the inadequate and declining support for basic food and agricultural research must be addressed quickly, as the research process takes a minimum of ten years from laboratory to field. We must also find the means to enhance research and fund the organizations that facilitate research. By focusing on agricultural research and other key policies we can begin to address hunger and food security issues by sustainably increasing the rate of agricultural productivity without the use of more land, water or other inputs," said Dr. William G. Lesher, Global Harvest Initiative Executive Director.
Subsequent GHI issue briefs will address trade, development assistance, science-based technologies, and private investment. The issue brief released today and more information about GHI can be found at http://www.globalharvestinitiative.org.