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Integrated approaches for agricultural sustainability and productivity assessments

Ben Henderson and Jussi Lankoski

No 204, OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers from OECD Publishing

Abstract: Increasing agricultural productivity growth sustainably can help to address the triple challenge of providing sufficient affordable and nutritious food for a growing global population, while supporting sector livelihoods and improving environmental outcomes. However, challenges remain in measuring environmentally sustainable productivity growth. This study uses alternative approaches to address these challenges and provides answers to the following questions: i) has Total Factor Productivity (TFP) growth coincided with improved environmental outcomes?; and ii) has the agricultural productivity and environmental performance of countries improved over time? While there is compelling evidence that TFP growth has helped countries to expand agricultural output and reduce greenhouse gas emissions per unit of output, these emissions increased in absolute terms for about half of the OECD countries assessed and nitrogen surpluses increased for about one-third. While these environmental impacts would have been larger if output had expanded in the absence of productivity growth, there is room to steer innovation in the sector in a more environmentally sustainable direction.

Keywords: agri-environmental indicators; greenhouse gas emissions; nutrient balances; Total factor productivity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D24 Q01 Q10 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023-09-22
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-eff, nep-env and nep-ger
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