Ellen Kullman, chief executive officer of agriculture powerhouse DuPont, on Thursday emphasized a transformation in the firm’s portfolio toward developing solutions to feed a growing global population expected to swell from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050.
Kullman was speaking in a global discussion in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum. The panel addressed changes in climate and weather patterns, demands of a globally growing middle class and strengthening the efficiency of agricultural value chains.
“Food security is a global challenge where DuPont is using its scientific capabilities to address,” Kullman said.
“We have transformed our portfolio to put greater emphasis on delivering higher growth, higher value offerings for the agriculture and nutrition industries.”
The firm continues to move away from chemicals, plowing a clear path in agriculture, nutrition and health and securing leading positions in those arenas.
“We expect 2 billion more people by 2050 – mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia – where the majority of the more than 850 million chronically malnourished population live,” Kullman said.
“Agricultural production will increase, but we need to accelerate progress locally and increase focus on economic development,” she said.
“This will enable such things as affordability to import food, improve trade policy, better enable the free flow of food, build agricultural food systems and value chains, develop new ways to improve shelf life as well as the freshness and variety of foods available, and provide nutrition education to encourage healthy eating as income rises,” Kullman said.
The panel was moderated by Rajiv J. Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The topic was “What environmental, societal and economic forces are reshaping the global context for food security,” according to DuPont spokeswoman Michelle Reardon, who Tweeted some of Kullman’s remarks from the forum.
“DuPont has a unique vantage point on food security because we have innovations across the full value chain, allowing us to holistically address the challenge of feeding the growing population,” Kullman said.
“Improving agricultural productivity, providing food and nutrition solutions and finding ways to protect food and reduce waste are all part of our strategy.”
Other panelists included Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, director general of International Food Policy Research Institute Shenggen Fan; chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj Ajay Vir Jakhar and Michael M. Liès, group chief executive officer of Swiss Reinsurance Co. Ltd.
DuPont reinforced its commitment to the food security space Thursday by announcing a joint agreement with USAID to reduce global hunger and poverty by enabling smallholder farmers access to proven, safe and transformative agricultural innovations, according to Reardon.
DuPont Executive Vice President James C. Borel and Shah signed a memorandum of understanding that delivers commitments made through the New Alliance for Food Security, DuPont said.
“For DuPont, this global MOU with USAID helps us to jointly capitalize on synergies between the DuPont science, technological and market capabilities with USAID’s development achievements, credibility and monitoring and evaluation expertise,” Borel said.
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Some highlights of the joint agreement between DuPont and the U.S. Agency for International Development to reduce global hunger and poverty by giving smallholder farmers access to agricultural innovations:
? Strengthening access to proven and safe seed technologies, credit, markets and better storage facilities to limit post-harvest loss.
? Building capacity for more youth and women scientists in agriculture, including through engagement of the Young African Leaders Initiative.
? Advancing efforts to introduce climate-resilient crops and innovations like nitrogen-fixing trees to help smallholders sustainably address climate change.
? Enabling Southern Hemisphere country knowledge exchanges on agricultural development approaches.
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