REPORT: Agricultural Productivity in a Time of Pandemics: 2020 GAP Report

REPORT: Agricultural Productivity in a Time of Pandemics: 2020 GAP Report

Steensland, A. (2020). 2020 Global Agricultural Productivity Report: Productivity in a Time of Pandemics (Thompson, T., Ed.), Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

  1. Key Messages and Executive Summary
  2. Chapter 1. The Resilience Imperative — A Pandemic-Scale Challenge
  3. Chapter 2. Cultivating Productivity in a Time of Pandemics
  4. Chapter 3. Productivity, a “No-Regret” Investment in a Time of Pandemics
  5. Chapter 4. Stories: Partnerships for Productivity and Resilience
  6. Chapter 5. Expert Essays: Filling the GAPs
12 October 2020. The 2020 Global Agricultural Productivity Report (GAP Report) from the Virginia

Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences explores the impact of disease and pest outbreaks on agricultural productivity, food security and nutrition, livelihoods, and environmental sustainability.

Read the 2020 GAP Report -Productivity in a Time of Pandemics

Key messages:
  1. To sustainably double the amount of food, feed, fiber, and bioenergy needed for nearly 10 billion people in 2050, agricultural productivity needs to increase at an average annual rate of 1.73 percent. 
  2. New data from the USDA Economic Research Service presented in the report indicate that globally, Total Factor Productivity, or TFP, is increasing by an average annual rate of 1.63 percent, unchanged from 2019. According to the 2020 GAP Index, TFP growth is below the target, growing at an average annual rate of 1.63 percent. 
  3. TFP growth in low-income countries continues its precipitous decline, growing at an average annual rate of just 0.58 percent, far below Sustainable Development Goal 2.3 to double agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers, many of whom live in low-income countries. 
  4. Without significant increases in productivity and output, low-income countries with rapidly growing populations will not have sufficient resources to grow or import enough food for their citizens, perpetuating cycles of hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. 
  5. While the recent outbreaks of African Swine Fever in Asia and desert locust in Africa are not reflected in the current data, the impact on TFP in those regions will be substantial. 
  6. Technologies and practices that support productivity growth also support resilience. They provide tools and information agricultural producers need to absorb the impact of a crisis and adapt to the challenges it brings. 
  7. With access to a variety of technologies, up-to-the-minute data, and strong social safety nets, producers in the traditional productivity powerhouses in North America and Europe have distinct advantages in times of pandemics. 
  8. Policy and investment priorities for productivity and resilience include: increasing funding for agricultural research and development, expanding agricultural extension and farmer training programs, accelerating adoption of science-based and information technologies, strengthening the social safety net, and improving financial risk-management tools for producers. 
  9. Strengthening human capital (the skills, knowledge, and experience possessed by an individual or population) and social capital (the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society) is critical for productivity growth and resilience.
The virtual GAP Report Launch, travels to Kenya, Burkina Faso, India, Peru, and the U.S. to hear from agricultural producers and researchers on the front lines of battling the pandemic-scale outbreaks threatening our agriculture systems.
The updated Global Agricultural Productivity Index™ (GAP Index™) was presented and discussed its implications for the resilience of our food and agriculture systems. The report discusses the critical importance of breaking barriers to productivity growth and resilience, including gender and racial discrimination, and how to build trust through partnership.
English video
French video


  • Hellen Waweru, Smallholder Dairy Farmer, Kenya
  • PJ Haynie, Haynie Farms, Virginia, and Chair, National Black Growers Council
  • Chad Leman, Leman Farms, Eureka, Illinois, United States
  • Farmers from Krishi Jyoti/Mosaic Villages Project, India, Sehgal Foundation and The Mosaic Company Foundation
  • Farmers from Soutenir l’Exploitation Famaliales pour Lancer l’Elevage des Volailles et Valoriser l’Economie Rurale, Burkina Faso, Tanager


  • Christi Dixon, Agriculture Engagement and Advocacy Manager, Bayer Crop Science
  • Stewart Leeth, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer, Smithfield Foods
  • Alberto Salas and Elisa Salas, Agronomists, International Potato Center (CIP)
  • Frederic Beudot, Global Portfolio Leader – Biologicals, Corteva Agriscience
  • Krystal Montesdeoca, Data Scientist, John Deere

Special Guests

  • Dr. Cyril Clarke, Executive Vice President and Provost, Virginia Tech
  • Jewel Bronaugh, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  • Dr. Ray McKinnie, Dean and 1890 Administrator, Virginia State University College of Agriculture

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