The present study applied the Färe–Primont index approach to estimate the total factor productivity (TFP) growth of world agriculture, covering the period 1969–2013. Overall, the world agricultural TFP grew at a rate of 0.44% p.a. This growth was mainly contributed to by technological progress and mix efficiency changes, while the contributions of technical efficiency and scale efficiency changes were negligible. TFP growth varied across regions, with South Asia at the top of the list (1.05% p.a.), and East Asia and the Pacific (0.18% p.a.) at the bottom. TFP components exerted differential influences amongst regions. For instance, mix efficiency played a dominant role in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, whereas it was technical efficiency change in Latin America and the Caribbean region. The paper argues for region specific policy interventions emphasizing technical progress through investment in R&D and price and non-price interventions to improve economies of scope and scale of operation in the agricultural sector.
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