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Agricultural productivity, resources, and related terms

Productivity (agricultural) :

is a measure of the amount of agricultural output produced for a given amount of inputs, such as an index of multiple outputs divided by an index of multiple inputs (e.g., the value of all farm outputs divided by the value of all farm inputs).

The index-number approach to studying productivity estimates total factor productivity (TFP), which measures levels and changes in agricultural output relative to changes in an aggregated index of multiple inputs.
The inputs have been classified as follows :
Conventional inputs : Land, Labor, Livestock, Tractors, Fertilizer
Labor quality : Life expectancy, Adult illiteracy
Institutional quality : Armed conflict
Infrastructure : Road density
Land quality : Annual rainfall, Percent arable or permanently cropped, Percent not irrigated,
Good soils and climate.

Productivity (land) :

measures the amount of land needed to meet food needs, and thus the potential level of pressure on land currently providing other environmental services (e.g., crop yields per unit of land ; tons of wheat per hectare of land).
Land quality is a major component of natural resources and has clear-cut effect on agricultural and land productivity [1].

Productivity (work / labour) :

work produced by unit of time, understood as economic efficiency. Productivity is intimately linked with knowledge, technology, organization, governance skills and needs to be considered in the frame of nowadays globalization, competition, profit maximization.

More precisely, it is the ratio (expressed in volume or monetary units) between the production (outputs, such as goods or services) and the resources employed (inputs, such as work, capital) to generate what is produced [2].
Also expressed as output per worker and measures the incomes and welfare of people employed.
Labour productivity in agriculture is low compared to non-agricultural activities (factor 4 in terms of GDP per worker) and huge differences are observed between rich and poor countries inside agriculture. Political, institutional and technological factors have been put forward.
For example, 70-fold difference is reported when productivity is expressed in GDP per worker [3]. A ratio as high as 1:2,000 is reported when productivity is expressed as cereal equivalent [4-5].
In OCDE countries, high productivity is obtained through crop intensification / scaling up, specialization, standardization of tools, genetic resources, environment and inputs. Profit driven, high intermediate inputs are systematically used (such as fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, mechanization). Overall, labour productivity is estimated at 2,000tons/person/year.
In developing poor countries unproductive smallholder farming is involving 1.3 million farms, with 800,000 middle-age level equipment, which are constrained to subsistence food production. The labour productivity is estimated at most at 1ton/person/year.
As market prices are established on the basis of highest productivity figures and independent of market fluctuations, most southern countries rural smallholders suffer a 200-fold distortion in revenue. Free-trade is therefore unequal trade.
Resources : available supply ; any physical or virtual entity of limited availability that needs to be consumed to obtain a benefit from it ; typically divided into categories : natural/human, tangible/intangible.

Common pool resources (CPR) :

are characterised by the difficulty of excluding actors from using them and the fact that the use by one individual or group means that less is available for use by others. The latter point distinguishes CPR from pure public goods which exhibit both non excludability and non rivalry in consumption. CPRs include fisheries, irrigation systems and grazing areas [6].

For biological resources see more here

1. Wiebe K : Linking land quality, agricultural productivity, and food security. USDA-ERS Agricultural Economic Report No 823 2003:19-27.
2. Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques : Productivité [http://insee.fr/fr/methodes/default.asp?page=definitions/productivite.htm]
3. Restuccia D, Tao Yang D, Zhu X : Agriculture and Aggregate Productivity : A Quantitative Cross-Country Analysis. University of Toronto, Department of Economics 2003.
4. Mazoyet M, Roudart L, Mayaki IA : World Development report. Mondes en développement 2008, 143:117-136.
5. Mazoyet M, Roudart L : La fracture agricole et alimentaire mondiale. Edition Universalis 2006.
6. Green Facts : Common pool resource [http://www.greenfacts.org/glossary/abc/common-pool-resource.htm]

Publié ou mis à jour le 14 juin 2012