Study Says Open Trade Can Boost Ag Productivity

Report examines practical actions that could improve ag productivity.

Published on: Jun 14, 2012

An interagency report to the Mexican G20 presidency released this week recommends that G20 governments should work to strengthen international import and export.

The report, entitled "Sustainable Agricultural Productivity Growth and Bridging the Gap for Small Family Farms," says that reducing trade and production distorting domestic support, improving market access opportunities, eliminating export subsidies and strengthening the disciplines on export restrictions will improve the environment for investment and productivity growth.

The report was spurred by an invitation from Mexico, as G20 President, to examine practical actions that could sustainably improve agricultural productivity growth on small family farms. The main coordinators of the report were the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Report examines practical actions that could improve ag productivity.
Report examines practical actions that could improve ag productivity.

The report, which was used as a key input in the discussions of the G20 Agricultural Group, says a trade environment with improved market access can build global food security.

"Food must be able to move in a free and predictable manner from surplus to deficit areas, given the already strong pressures on the natural resource base in some regions and the expected impacts of climate change," the report said.

It also notes the critical role played by the WTO’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement in contributing to the reduction of production losses due to pests and diseases, and the need to build capacity, including through the Standards and Trade Development Facility.

The study recommends that G20 governments improve transparency in trade, and reduce border restrictions to trade.

The study is a collaborative undertaking by Bioversity International, the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres, the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the International Food Policy Research Institute, the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture, the OECD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the UN High Level Task Force on the Food Security Crisis, the UN World Food Programme, the World Bank and the WTO.

For the full report, click here.