Increasing Yields the Best Option, Says DuPont Leader at UN Food and
ROME, June 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- More can be done now to increase the amount of grain farmers harvest from their land and help address the strong and growing global demand for grain, Mike Gumina, vice president of DuPont (NYSE: DD) business Pioneer Hi-Bred, told a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Conference being held here today.
"Improved farming practices and technology exist today that could help farmers in both developed and developing countries increase their productivity," Gumina said at the conference on world food security. "Better crop management practices and better seeds -- both conventional and biotech -- have tremendous potential to increase supply and improve the lives of farmers."
Gumina said that of the three ways to increase available supply -- more land in production, drawing from stored supplies, and increasing yield -- the only sustainable option is increasing yields. There is relatively little additional land that would not be environmentally sensitive that could be brought into production. Global stores of grain are at all time lows, he noted.
"While implementing and sustaining new agricultural practices is challenging, we've seen it work around the world," Gumina said. "Farmers in many countries like Ethiopia have increased corn yields by switching from open pollinated varieties to conventional hybrid corn. At the same time, farmers in countries like Spain, Argentina and the United States are increasing harvestable yield with biotech traits."
"Science companies like DuPont are investing heavily to develop seeds and provide technical support to help improve farmer productivity around the globe. By bringing together a number of advancements, DuPont is planning to increase yields for both its soybean and corn seed products by 40 percent in the next 10 years," Gumina said. "Farmers, agri-businesses, grain handlers and public extension programs should be encouraged to work together to address the near-term needs. Longer term, it is critical that government policies create an environment for advancing sustainable productivity."
Gumina outlined four long-term solutions that would increase
productivity and help alleviate poverty and hunger:
-- Encourage research and the dissemination of technologies and techniques
for sustainable agriculture and water management. Public and private
sector scientists must collaborate to develop technologies that will
help crops be more tolerant to drought, salt and heat, and can utilize
nutrients more efficiently. Once produced, it is critical that they
are made accessible.
-- Deliver extension and agronomy programming at a local level to ensure
productivity increases are sustainable. The benefits of investing in
research and innovation can only be realized if the technologies can be
-- Increase stewardship training in agricultural best practices at the
local level. For productivity gains to be sustainable, farmers must
use the best stewardship practices available to help improve soil
productivity and limit environmental impacts.
-- Establish secure land tenure and recognize female land owners. Women
play a key role across sectors and at all levels of society. Their
contributions must be recognized.
Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, is the world's leading source of customized solutions for farmers, livestock producers and grain and oilseed processors. With headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, Pioneer provides access to advanced plant genetics in nearly 70 countries.
DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life 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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