Agricultural R&D spending in high-income countries shrinking

In high-income countries—such as the United States, Australia, and France—investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) has been a key factor in producing the new technologies that have raised output and reduced input use in agriculture.

Recent ERS research found that public sectors in high-income countries accounted for a significant but declining share of total global spending on agricultural R&D. As recently as 1990, public-sector R&D spending by high-income countries accounted for about 36 percent of total public and private spending on food and agricultural research worldwide. That share had fallen to less than 25 percent by 2011.

Although public agricultural R&D spending by high-income countries rose in 1990-2011, it rose much faster in developing countries. Total private R&D spending also rose much faster than public agricultural R&D spending in high-income countries during this time period. After adjusting for inflation, aggregate public agricultural R&D spending by high-income countries peaked in 2009, and subsequently declined.

This chart appears in the ERS report Agricultural Research Investment and Policy Reform in High-Income Countries, released May 2018.

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