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ASTI Global Assessment - R&D Spending Pays Off

Illustration - shows productivity growth from 1970 to 2009 - all developing countries 82%, China 136% Brazil 176%

In efforts to improve agricultural productivity, Brazil and China increased their public funding for agricultural R&D in recent years: China’s spending almost doubled during 2000–2008 and is estimated to have increased by a further 50 percent during 2009–2010, while Brazil—which has one of the most established and well-funded research systems in the developing world—is estimated to have increased its public spending by 20 percent during 2008–2011. This increased public investment, combined with key reforms including improved farmer incentives, greater macroeconomic stability, strong extension and rural education systems, and improved rural infrastructure and market access, has enabled agricultural productivity levels in Brazil and China to outpace those of the rest of the developing world. Relative to 1970, by 2009 cumulative total factor productivity (the rate of output growth relative to the amounts of production inputs used) had increased by 176 percent in Brazil and by 136 percent in China compared with 82 percent for developing countries as a whole.

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