Six Decades of Trends: “Global agricultural output increased by about fourfold”

A recent USDA report dives into the transformation of global agriculture over the past six decades, shedding light on key developments and trends.

A research economist emphasizes the changes observed during this period.

“From 1961 all the way up to 2020, global agricultural output increased by about fourfold. So, some of the traditional things like root and tuber crops, cereal, grains— they’re actually a smaller share of that total output today than they were in prior decades. What has grown are oil seeds, fruits and vegetables, and non-ruminate livestock, like poultry and pork. And then, especially, we’ve seen huge growth in farm-raised fish or what we call aquaculture,” according to USDA’s Keith Fuglie.

He went on to state, “What this report tries to do is look at broad trends in global agricultural production, resource use and productivity, how productive those resources employed in agriculture have been, and how this affects long-run sustainability, both in terms of the world being able to produce enough food to feed a growing population at an affordable price, as well as how agriculture is affecting not only the use of farm resources but also natural resources and the environment. So, we really wanted to get kind of a long-term global picture of where these trends have taken us over the last few decades.”