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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In Transforming Traditional Agriculture T.W. Schultz (1964), envisioned a crucial role for investments in ‘nontraditional’ inputs such as knowledge and education, and improvements in the quality of material inputs and people, to help shift agriculture to a firmer footing and capitalize on agriculture as an engine of economic growth. However, the patterns of agricultural change over the subsequent half century have been uneven. Around the world today can be found countries at every stage of the transition that is now largely complete in the high-income countries. Global agricultural production has been dominated for a long time by a short (but changing) list of relatively large and populous countries. In 2011–13, just ten countries accounted for 55.7 per cent of the world’s cropland. The bulk of global crop production takes place in the temperate north (62.9 per cent). Supply side factors affect the location of production, but demand matters too. Food commodities are predominantly produced close to where they will be consumed. Consequently, calories produced from staple crops as a share of each country’s calories produced from all crops has a visibly negative relationship with average per capita income—an Engel effect on the national agricultural output mix.

Keywords: agricultural production, T.W. Schultz, Transforming Traditional Agriculture, inputs, investment, agriculture, productivity, research, science, technology, innovation, Engel effect

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