The Importance of TFP

Joanna SchroederAgribusiness, Audio, Food, John Deere, Research, World Food

John Deere’s Kelly Winquist provided a preview of how countries are doing with Total Factor Productivity (TFP) as a means to reach the goal of feeding 9.7 billion people by 2050 as part of the 2015 Gap Report release during World Food Prize. The 6th annual Global Agricultural Productivity Report: Building Sustainable Breadbaskets focused on the U.S. and Zambia. Winquist explained that TFP is a measure of outputs to inputs. So outputs are such things as crops and livestock or things produced through our agriculture production systems while inputs are the things, i.e. resources, needed in order to get those outputs such as machinery, feed, fertilizers, etc.

Kelly Winquist John Deere“So its a ratio that tells us, are we getting a lot for the output? explains Winquist. “Are we putting a lot in to it or are we only putting a little in to it? Because with the population growing to 9.7 billion by 2050 we need to be able to feed a lot more people. But earth’s not getting any bigger so we need to make more with the resources we already have.”

The Global Harvest Initiative has calculated that in order to meet that demand, global countries need to grow their TFP by 1.75 percent each year and even developing markets like the U.S. is not meeting this. Globally the average is 1.72 percent while low-income countries are only at 1.5 percent. This means, says Winquist, there is a big gap in where we need to be to meet future demand. She explains that there are multiple factors affecting TFP such as agriculture and research development is underfunded and needs investments from both the private and public sectors. In developing countries, they lack infrastructure, access to markets and more. She also notes that in developing countries, John Deere is helping to address market development and financing through collaborative partnerships so small-holder farmers, and especially women, can increase their TFP.

Listen my interview with Kelly Winquist to learn more about Total Factor Productivity: [wpaudio url=”″ text=”Interview with Kelly Winquist, John Deere”]

2015 World Food Prize photo album.

Coverage of the World Food Prize Global Harvest Initiative is sponsored by Coverage of the World Food Prize Global Harvest Initiative is sponsored by John Deere