In the Mekong Delta, farmers harvest 6-7 tonnes of rice per hectare in dry seasons and 4-5 tonnes per hectare in wet seasons, using fast-maturing rice varieties that allow up to three consecutive yields annually.
By contrast, West African rice farmers reap only 1.5 tonnes per hectare of traditional upland rice annually, while other cereals yield no more than 1 tonne - a figure comparable to yields in medieval Europe.
Such disparities are unnecessary. Indeed, the proliferation of agricultural technology - from more efficient machinery to higher-yielding or more robust crop varieties - has the potential to narrow the productivity gap considerably, even if differences between climates and producers remain.
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