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28SEEDWORLD.COMOnpapertheseargumentsarealmostirreutable.Ix19vejustneverquitebeenabletoshaketheeelingthatnonehavemuchoachanceoleapingothepageandintopracticesoonenoughtoeedthelastbillionorthenext.Indeedincomedis-paritiesarewideningpeopleareeatingmoremeat.Andpoli-ciesOhorgetit.Theargumentswillcontinuetobeputorthasitheywereplansandtheywillcontinuetobevalidonpaperanduptoapoint.Thatpointwillbereachedwhenrealproductivitycon-straintscollidewithrealdemandoroodarisingrompopula-tiongrowthandeconomicdevelopment.IncapitalsaroundtheworldandintheirdevelopmentagenciesIdetectashit.Theysensethatproductionitselisbecomingaproblem.Itdoesnx19tmeanthatpovertyisnx19tahugeactor.Itdoesnx19tmeanthattheyhavestartedtoblamethelastbillionorthewoesotheworldx14ateralltheseventhbillionbydefnitioniscomposedochildrenagedtwelveandunder.Italsodoesnx19tmeanthatincomedisparitiesooddistributionwasteandeatinghabitsarenotimportantissuestoaddress.Butitdoesmeanthatproductionmatters.Globaloodproductionisstillincreasingbutyieldincreasesareslowingnoticeably.Annualyieldincreasesabovetwoper-centormajorcerealsenjoyeduntilrecentlyhavenowallensubstantiallybelowthatmark.Yieldsoriceandwheatnolongerkeepupwithpopulationgrowth.Thiscanx19tbeagoodsign.Crop1961-19901990-2007Cornmaize2.201.77Wheat2.950.52Rice2.190.96GlobalYieldGrowthRatesperyearSourceAlstonBeddowandPardey2010Revolutionothe1960sand1970swasueledbyinvestmentsinresearchresearchwithastronomicalratesoreturnthatpaidhandsomelyinincreasedoodproduction.Inhindsightmostgovernmentsrestedonthesesuccessesnotappreciatingthatactivitiessuchasplantbreedingarenotx18one-o.x19Yieldsstagnateunlessyoureplacecurrentvarietieswithmoreproductivevarieties.Itx19sasimpletruth.Failuretoundresearchinthe1990sisbeingeltnow.Thenextdecadeortwowillberoughandvolatile.Climatevariabilityphysicalconstraintsandthelackoinnovationinthepipelinewillseetothat.Genebanksareconservinghundredsothousandsouniquesamplesmanyowhichhavenotyetbeenscreenedtorevealtheverytraitsthatcouldbeemployedtohelpagri-cultureadapttoclimatechangeandbecomemoreproductiveheatresistancedroughttolerancediseaseandpestresistanceproductivityinlownutrientsituations.CananyonedoubttheirimportanceTheworldwilladdyetanotherbillioninthenext12years.Interestinglythatx19saboutthelengthotimeittakesoraplantbreedertodevelopanewcropvarietyandgetittoarmers.Planningorproductivityissomuchmorepleasingthanwaitingorplagueandpestilence.Editorx19sNoteReprintedwithpermissionfromtheGlobalCropDiversityTrust.Withtheriseothemiddleclassgloballyandmorepeopleeatingmeatthedemandorgrainisrisingevenmorethanpopulationgrowthalonemightindicate.Aroundtheglobeweareincreasingourappetiteswithoutdiminishingourhunger.Somethingisseriouslyamiss.Themismatchosupplyanddemandtrendssetsusonadangerouscollisioncourse.Foodpricevolatilityandincreasingincidenceohungerandoodinsecurityareeasilypredictable.Unavoidableinact.HowDidWeGetOurselvesintoSuchaMessTobesuretherearelimitstoproduction.Andwhilewecer-tainlyhavenotreachedthemweknowtheyarethereLimitstotheexpansionocropland.Limitstotheamountowaterorirrigation.Limitsultimatelytoaordableertilizer.Thesearephysicalconstraintsthataecthowmuchoodcanbegrown.Therecanbelittledoubtthatsuchconstraintswillshapeourworldandourutureprooundly.Butconstraintsalonedonotexplainwhatishappening.Notyet.AgriculturaleconomistsJulianAlstonandPhilipPardeybelievethatthereductioninproductivitygrowthisrelatedtodeclininggrowthinagriculturalRDspending.TheGreenItisincreasedproductivitycourtesyofcroplandexpansionandaseriesoffarmingx18revolutionsx19thathasenabledpopulationgrowth.ThisarticleispartofaseriesproducedbytheGlobalCropDiversityTrust.TofindoutmoreaboutthetrustandsignuptoreceivethesearticlesregularlypleasevisitCROPTRUST.ORG.