How (and why) do we grow agricultural productivity? Lessons from the SPG Coalition’s 2022 events

November 30, 2022

The USDA’s Coalition on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation (SPG Coalition) was launched in 2021 at the UN Food Systems Summit.

The SPG Coalition is a voluntary coalition of action whose members aim to accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems through a holistic approach to productivity growth. DivSeek International Network is an SPG Coalition member, and has the opportunity to interact with the wider membership base that comprises many exciting initiatives and projects aimed at enhancing agricultural sustainability through innovative science and data-driven solutions.

The Coalition provides a platform for sharing and disseminating information about best practices, lessons learned, and innovative, evidence-based approaches for sustainable productivity growth. To this end, the Coalition hosted a series of stimulating events throughout 2022. This included a global conference which coincided with the release of the 2022 Global Agricultural Productivity Report. This report found that growth of global agricultural productivity is in steep decline, and that annual increases from the current low of 1.12 percent to 1.73 percent per year would be required to feed the world in 2050.

The conference, entitled Accelerating Agricultural Productivity Growth for a Sustainable, Resilient World, was held on October 4, 2022. It included a detailed presentation of the Report, a panel discussion of broad strategies to reverse system trends, and presentations about mobilizing action. A 3-hour livestream video is now available online.


Another notable event was the webinar titled Sustainable Agricultural Productivity Growth: COP 27 and Beyond, which focused on the role of agricultural productivity growth for feeding the world while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The webinar featured four speakers, each of whom presented new evidence underscoring the importance of agricultural productivity growth for climate change mitigation and adaptation. A two-page synopsis, as well as a 1-hour livestream video, are now available.


Both events included excellent big-picture conversations about the need for agricultural productivity growth. There was a notable focus on growing total factor productivity (TFP), which means producing more food, but with fewer inputs – including land, water, labor and capital.

Speakers from diverse fields (economists, policy analysts, and data scientists) provided thought-provoking and data-driven analyses on the relationship between TFP and sustainable social and environmental development objectives.

As a member of the SPG Coalition, DivSeek welcomes engagement from any of its Members and Partners in proposing solutions and initiatives related to these events. In particular, there are opportunities to inform the conversation by identifying contributions based on characterization and harnessing of plant genetic resources.