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Government Actions, Public and Private Partnerships to Revolutionize African Agriculture


DuPont Group Vice President Discusses Future of African Agriculture at World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

DAVOS, Switzerland, January 26, 2007 - To realize an African agricultural revolution, government actions must be taken and public and private partnerships must be formed to support new technologies and investments, DuPont Group Vice President J. Erik Fyrwald told the World Economic Forum today.

“An African agricultural revolution will require commitment and action by government, public, private and non-profit institutions,” said Fyrwald. “We must work together to not only increase agricultural productivity in Africa to help people feed themselves, but also increase their profitability and help them move to farming as a source of income.”

Asia and other areas of the world have benefited from “Green Revolutions” that greatly increased food production and jump-started economies. In the 1970s maize yields in Asia were about the same level as in Africa. Today, maize yields in Asia have increased 400 percent and maize yields in Africa have made very little progress. Fyrwald said if the right government policies are put in place with the right public and private partnerships supporting farmers, Africa can realize a similar agricultural revolution.

“The government must protect the rule of the law and intellectual property rights and develop policies and regulations to encourage intense agricultural growth, innovation and advanced technology development,” said Fyrwald. “Public, private and non-profit institutions must invest in developing scientific expertise, appropriate technologies and agricultural research and development.”

“DuPont has very successful business models in place in African countries to increase growers’ productivity to help them feed themselves and move to farming as a source of income,” said Fyrwald. An example is African Biofortified Sorghum, a project funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative.

“The African Biofortified Sorghum project is an innovative approach toward addressing malnutrition issues in parts of Africa,” said Fyrwald. “DuPont is proud to be the scientific lead on this project and to partner with the other public, private and academic organizations to build African scientific expertise and bring sorghum with improved nutritional value to the people of Africa.”

Fyrwald said DuPont also is working closely with farmers to inform them about agronomic practices and improved plant genetics. In southern Ethiopia, for example, DuPont is demonstrating the value of converting open-pollinated corn production to hybrid corn production. One farmer who converted to hybrid corn has increased his production more than fivefold and his family is now self-sufficient in food production.

“Agriculture is the backbone of African economies,” said Fyrwald. “Government, public, private and non-profit institutions must work to bring together the skills, experiences and competencies required to revolutionize agriculture and strengthen the broader economy.”

Agriculture is just one of the many areas that help meet DuPont’s recently announced sustainability commitments that address environment, safety, energy and climate challenges in the marketplace. As part of its 2015 goals, DuPont will double the amount of R&D investment in programs with direct, quantifiable environmental benefits for customers and consumers along its value chains. Also between now and 2015, DuPont will introduce at least 1,000 new products or services that help make people safer globally. The goals are tied directly to business growth, specifically to the development of safer and environmentally improved new products for key global markets.

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. ( ).

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to better, safer, healthier lives for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.


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