, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 169-172
Date: 19 Jan 2010

Introduction to the special issue on agricultural productivity growth: a closer look at large, developing countries

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Productivity is a centrally important issue in economics because it is one of the principal determinants of economic welfare. Analysis of agricultural productivity has a special place in agricultural economics because of the large dependency on natural resources in this sector and periodic concerns that we may be reaching limits in natural resource capital available for food production. The sharp rise in agricultural commodity prices over 2007–2008 elevated concerns of global supply and demand imbalances—that the rising demand for grain from the increasingly larger and wealthier world population and from the newly emerging biofuel industry was outstripping the ability of farmers to raise production, thus leading to a permanent era of higher real agricultural prices.

Interested readers are referred to a special issue of Agricultural Economics (Vol. 39 supplement, December 2008), for an excellent set of articles reviewing the state of knowledge on the causes and consequences of the recent

The views expressed in this issue are not necessarily those of the Department of Agriculture.