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Outcome of the meeting of the OECD Network on Agricultural TFP and the Environment that took place 23-24 May 2017
Groundwater has provided great benefits to agriculture irrigation in semi-arid OECD countries, but its intensive use beyond recharge in certain regions has depleted resources and generated significant negative environmental externalities.
Agriculture is expected to face increasing water risks that will impact production, markets, trade and food security - risks that can be mitigated with targeted policy actions on water hotspots. This report develops the hotspot approach, provides an application at the global scale, and presents a mitigation policy action plan. The People’s Republic of China, India and the United States are identified as countries facing the greatest water risks for agriculture production globally.
A global simulation shows that, in the absence of action, water risks in Northeast China, Northwest India and the Southwest United States in particular could have significant production, price and trade consequences. Agriculture water risks could also result in broader socio-economic and food security concerns. Farmers, agro food companies, and governments can all play a role in responding to water risks at hotspot locations. A three-tier policy action plan is proposed to confront water risk hotspots, encompassing targeted responses, adapted national policies, strengthened market integration and international collaboration.
For a variety of reasons, energy use in the agro-food sector continues to rise, and in many countries, is highly dependent on fossil fuels, contributing significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. It is therefore becoming urgent to consider how the food supply chain can improve its energy efficiency. This report analyses ways of improving energy use in the agro-food sector in relation to both producers and consumers, and puts forward a set of policy recommendations that governments can introduce to meet green growth objectives and achieve sustainable development.
The OECD Network on Agricultural Total Factor Productivity and the Environment convenes experts from relevant countries to facilitate dialogue and, where possible, co-operative research efforts that aim to develop a better framework for cross-country total factor productivity comparisons.
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Policy recommendations on agriculture and climate change mitigation and adaptation from OECD, last updated April 2016.
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Policy recommendations on agriculture and water from OECD, last updated April 2016.
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Policy note summarising the findings of the report Drying wells, rising stakes.
This report looks at farm management practices with green growth potential, from farmer-led innovations (such as those directly linked to soil and water, Integrated Pest Management, organic farming) to science-led technologies (such as biotechnology and precision agriculture). Global food demand can only be met in a sustainable way if new forms of agricultural production and innovative technologies can be unlocked to increase the productivity, stability, and resilience of production systems with goals beyond just raising yields, including saving water and energy, reducing risk, improving product quality, protecting the environment and climate change mitigation.
Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events, notably of droughts and floods to which the agriculture sector is particularly exposed. While agricultural productivity growth and policy development have allowed to better cope with these risks and reduce overall impacts on the sector and commodity markets, there is substantial room to improve policy responses and co-ordinate across policy domains, including with respect to water rights and allocation, weather and hydrological information, innovation and education, and insurance and compensation schemes. Indeed, drought and flood risks are likely to become a major policy concern as increasing population will increase the demand for food, feed, fibre, and energy, not to mention the competition for water resources, and urbanisation will increase the demand for flood protection and mitigation, raising the issue of the allocation of flood risks across sectors and areas.