African Agricultural R&D and Productivity Growth in a Global Setting

Bechtel Conference Center
  • Prabhu Pingali,
  • Philip Pardey

Food and agricultural policy experts Prabhu Pingali and Philip Pardey will each speak on trends in productivity and investments in technology, survey of constraints to productivity, incentives and investment, and opportunities to raise productivity.

The Green Revolution - past successes, unfinished business, and the way forward

Pingali will review strategic components of the Green Revolution and its achievement and limits in terms of agricultural productivity improvement and broader impact at social, environmental and economic levels, including its impact on food and nutrition security. Lessons learned and the strategic insights these provide will be reviewed as the world is preparing a "redux" version of the Green Revolution with more integrative environmental and social impact combined with agricultural and economic development. Pingali will also point to core research & policy gaps that can enhance further spread and sustainable adoption of productivity enhancing technologies.


Prabhu Pingali is the Deputy Director of Agricultural Development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Formerly, he served as Director of the Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Pingali was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as a Foreign Associate in May 2007, and he was elected Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association in 2006. Pingali was the President of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) from 2003-06. Pingali has over twenty five years of experience in assessing the extent and impact of technical change in agriculture in developing countries, including Asia, Africa and Latin America.

 African Agricultural R&D and Productiivity Growth in a Global Setting

Given the continuing importance of agriculture in most African economies, an in-depth understanding of the past and likely future productivity performance of African agriculture is key to assessing the overall economic growth and development prospects of the region. African agriculture operates in increasingly interconnected global commodity markets, so the relative productivity performance of African vis-à-vis rest-of-world agriculture is also relevant. This talk will present new evidence on African agricultural productivity performance and place that evidence in relation to the evolving pattern of agricultural productivity growth worldwide. Technological change is a principal driver of productivity growth, and new, updated evidence on the trends in R&D investments that give rise to these technological changes will also be presented and discussed. The productivity effects of R&D play out over comparatively long periods of time demanding a long-run look at these developments.   

Philip Pardey is Professor of Science and Technology Policy in the Department of Applied Economics, and Director of the University of Minnesota's International Science and Technology Practice and Policy (InSTePP) center. His research deals with the finance and conduct of R&D globally, methods for assessing the economic impacts of research, and the economic and policy (especially intellectual property) aspects of genetic resources and the biosciences. He is a Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association and a Distinguished Fellow of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.