In the last three years, gains in food security and nutrition have been lost through mounting food system pressures from climatic variability, conflict, and other crises. Agricultural productivity growth is the single most effective approach in simultaneously meeting food and environmental goals. Feeding the global population with nutritious foods is paramount to sustaining a growing population and to food security.

According to new findings from the 2023 Global Agricultural Productivity (GAP) Report to be released on Oct. 3 through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, global agricultural productivity growth has shrunk in the last decade. This suggests that not enough producers are using productivity-enhancing technologies and efficient practices. To correct course, the globe must reach a higher target productivity growth rate of 1.91 percent in order to provide the world its agricultural needs without relying on unsustainable practices, according to the report.

If farmers around the world could better access and adopt scientifically proven and appropriate tools that sustainably improve agricultural productivity, progress can be made toward this goal. This will require a stronger enabling environment, addressing behavioral and decision-making influences, and mitigating the effects of external shocks and forces.

The GAP Report, titled "Every Farmer, Every Tool," will be released in an in-person and virtual event from 8-11 a.m. Oct. 3 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The report launch is part of a larger event “Every Farmer, Every Tool: Increasing and Sustaining Access to Proven Innovations for Sustainable Agricultural Productivity Growth,” a collaborative effort of the GAP Initiative, Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Strategic Productivity Growth Coalition for Food Security and Resource Conservation.

The event features a panel discussion on how downward trends can be reversed and potential outcomes if changes are made. Moderated by Jessica Agnew, associate director of CALS Global, in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the panel will feature:

  • Ruramiso Mashumba, Zimbabwean farmer, regional lead, Africa, Global Farmer Network
  • Paul Spencer, global trade policy and advocacy leader, Corteva
  • Tony Fernandes, deputy assistant secretary, U.S. State Department
  • Sergio Rivas, chief executive officer, Tanager
  • Eugenia Saini, managing director, FONTAGRO

The panel will explore the practical implications of what it means for every farmer to have access to every proven tool, appropriate for their production scale and food system in which they operate. Opportunities and barriers to accessing and adopting such tools will also be discussed by the panelists.

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