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DuPont Leader: Increasing Productivity for Both Large- and Small-Scale Farmers Critical


Increasing farmer productivity in developed and developing economies is critical to meeting the challenge of feeding the world, and innovation is a powerful catalyst for both, said DuPont executive vice president Jim Borel, to participants at a Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City symposium.

“In a world of global trade and agricultural exports, it may come as a surprise to know that 85% of all food never crosses an international border,” said Jim. “The bulk of the food to feed the hungry needs to come from the place where the hungry live.

“While the gap between production and population is often cited, the mismatch between the location of agriculture production and the location of people makes the challenge all the more daunting,” Jim added. “Most of the population growth is coming from the less economically developed areas. Of the 81 million people added to the global population in 2005, 79.5 million were in the developing world.

“Agricultural exports from the U.S. and other countries must remain strong, but they are not enough,” Jim said. “We must produce more, everywhere, in increasingly sustainable ways.”

The science of plant genetics is size neutral and can deliver productivity gains, whether it’s a farmer in central Iowa with 1,000 acres of corn or a small farmer in the Philippines with a half hectare. And scientific advances are being made across the agriculture industry at an accelerated pace, including better yields, improved nutrition and value, better environmental sustainability and improved crop protection.

A planted field in early growth.Jim emphasized that, “We need to look beyond science. The most valuable innovation comes from collaboration – the ability to harness collective ingenuity and resources – from farmers to public researchers and governments to organizations and private companies.

“Through global collaboration and innovation, we can increase the future productivity of agriculture even more than past history would suggest,” Jim said. “We can meet the world’s demand for more food, and we can do it while improving nutritional benefits and raising the standards of environmental stewardship.

“We can empower farmers to be productive in all parts of the world. In short, we can set the stage for the next agricultural revolution.”


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