Policy ForumSCI POLICY

The Contribution of Private Industry to Agricultural Innovation

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Science  23 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6110, pp. 1031-1032
DOI: 10.1126/science.1226294

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Most of the increase in global agricultural production over the past half-century has come from raising crop and livestock yields rather than through area expansion. This growth in productivity is attributed largely to investments in research and innovation (1). Since around 1990, there has been a decline in the rate of growth in yield per area harvested for several important crops (2). In parallel, the rate of growth in public spending on agricultural research and development (R&D) has also fallen, which may account for declining crop yield growth and may be contributing to rising food prices (3).