Despite a major production setback in the EU, global wheat output in 2020 is forecast to remain close to last year’s above-average level while world maize production is heading to a record, leading to a sharp increase in maize inventories. With rice production also bound for a record and soybeans making a strong recovery, prospects for all four AMIS crops indicate a generally comfortable global supply situation. However, in many parts of the world, local markets brace for the looming impacts of COVID-19, amid uncertainties related to demand, logistics and even access to food.
A plethora of agricultural technology in recent years has been fueled by internal budgets and venture capital. COVID-19, though, has tightened all aspects of doing business, including research and development (R&D). Still, major agricultural firms say they are committed to research and development. “Our R&D is not a short-term investment,” says Tim Glenn, executive vice president, chief commercial officer of Corteva Agriscience. “Those are long-term decisions we make. It’s important to continue to invest in those critical technologies, whether it’s germplasm, traits, crop protection, or digital solutions. If we fall behind in that space, the market is very unforgiving.” Venture capital money has flooded the agricultural market in terms of financing start-up firms in recent years. Some are faring the COVID-19 downturn well.
Back to the country. Realtors across the country have experienced a spike in demand for rural properties over the past few months, as the threat of COVID-19 has pushed city residents to relocate to the quiet countryside. Lockdowns have left urbanites more desperate than ever to get outdoors, reconnect with nature and grow their own food. Realtors in parts of New England and upstate New York say they haven't seen this kind of rural property boom since around 9/11, when New Yorkers were anxious to escape the city.
Slaughter rates are returning to near normal and weekly beef and pork production is exceeding year ago levels, but it wasn’t that long ago that consumers were emptying grocery store shelves and processing facilities were closing due to labor and COVID-19 issues – leading to daily dire predictions of meat shortages in the U.S. The self-distancing and quarantine protocols put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 reduced economic growth, shuttered consumers in their homes and changed the way Americans purchase and consume food. Food production, too, was significantly disrupted, especially at livestock processing facilities, where labor shortages and worker protection measures slowed throughput at plants around the country and even caused some facilities to shut down. Now, just a few short months later, the story has shifted to one of potential oversupply, soft demand and a (relative) return to normal in terms of the volume of product moving through the system.
As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, some have centralized decision-making, while others, including the United States and Germany, have left key policy choices to state governments, or even municipalities—allowing for individualized measures. These varied strategies have sparked a debate about the merits of decentralized service delivery in pandemic response. The OECD notes that this approach can work if sub-national governments receive sufficient support and there is adequate coordination across levels of government. Can this work for low-income countries? They are incredibly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 and in dire need of effective measures to protect public health and well-being, and to sustain their economies. But while some support a decentralized approach for low-income countries, others say it would hamstring recovery efforts.
Journal of Agricultural Economics
We apply dynamic data envelopment analysis (DEA) to estimate dynamic cost inefficiency for a sample of European Union (EU) large meat processing firms over the period 2005–2012 and decompose this into the contributions of technical and allocative inefficiency. The estimation of dynamic inefficiencies controls for adjustment costs associated with firms’ investments. We further contribute by measuring dynamic cost inefficiencies and their components with regard to own region group (managerial inefficiencies) and the gap between the pooled frontier and the region‐specific frontier (programme inefficiencies). Results show that technical inefficiency tends to be the largest component of cost inefficiency when both conducting the analysis for the EU as a whole and estimating a region‐specific frontier. Results suggest significant differences in cost, technical, and allocative inefficiencies between meat processing firms in eastern, western and southern EU countries. We also find that the gaps between the pooled and region‐specific frontiers tend to be small to negligible, which suggests that the main source of pooled inefficiencies are shortcomings in managerial practices rather than differences in region‐specific conditions.