Global Harvest Initiative’s 2012 GAP Report

The Need for Agricultural Productivity Gains in Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia

On October 17, the Global Harvest Initiative (GHI) released its 2012 Global Agricultural Productivity Report ® (GAP Report®) at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa. 

The GAP report provides an analysis of efforts to increase global agricultural productivity.  Monsanto is one of GHI’s members and works towards meeting the demand of a growing global population. 

The report was well-received by attendees and numerous media at the World Food Prize,” Jerry Steiner, executive vice president of Sustainability and Corporate Affairs, said.  The report highlights the needs for each region and advocates for the five policy areas that are critical to achieve the levels of productivity growth required to meet demand, including the need for science-based regulation and intellectual property protection.”

Report Summary

The report found that investments made more than a decade ago have produced significant increases in agricultural productivity overall, but current productivity growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and other regions will not be sufficient to meet demand. Without increased trade, public and private sector investments and assistance programs, these regions will be unable to meet rising food demands.

“Global agricultural productivity is on the rise, but the regional measurements from the GAP Report indicate a need for accelerated investment to counter the challenges of climate change and natural resource degradation,” said Dr. Margaret Zeigler, GHI Executive Director.

Although the 2012 GAP Report finds that current agricultural productivity appears on target to meet the food and agriculture demands of 9 billion people by 2050, significant regional challenges remain.


Key findings in the 2012 report include

  • Increases in food demand in Asia will result primarily from rising incomes rather than population increases.
  • In the Middle East and Africa, a growing food gap will need to be filled through a combination of productivity increases, imports, and government safety net assistance programs. Population increases are driving increases if food demand.
  • Productivity continues to increase in Latin America, and this region may have the ability to expand exports and increase production of biofuels.
  • The regions of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union has enormous potential for increasing productivity. 

The 2012 GAP Report includes GHI's updated GAP Index, an annual measurement on global and regional agricultural productivity growth against regional growth in food demand.  The GAP Index is based on the measurement of total factor productivity (TFP), which reflects the amounts of total inputs used per unit of output, including comparisons of the growth of output to the growth of input use.

GHI Recommendations

GHI is a private sector policy voice for agricultural productivity growth throughout the value chain. The aim of that growth is to meet the demands of a growing world – and meet them sustainably. GHI has four policy recommendations: 

  1. Increase investment in agricultural development and rural infrastructure.
  2. Improve agricultural research funding, structure and collaboration.
  3. Embrace science- and information-based technologies.
  4. Remove barriers to global and regional trade in agriculture. 

To see the full report and find additional information on GHI, please visit the GHI website.

The GAP report is also higlighted on Monsanto Beyond the Rows.