Public-Private Partnerships Help Increase Small-Scale Farmer Productivity
Milan, Italy (Vocus) Nov. 12, 2009 – Tackling global food security requires an understanding of local situations along with collaborations between public and private entities on a local, national and international scale, DuPont Vice President and Pioneer Hi-Bred Chairman Dean Oestreich told a Private Sector Forum meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (U.N.).
The forum is a pre-event of the U.N. World Summit on Food Security scheduled for Nov. 16-18. World leaders will meet to discuss the current global food insecurity and what should be done to ensure sufficient food production for a world population that will grow by 50 percent by 2050.
“To sustainably increase small-scale farmer productivity, we must start with the context of the local agriculture practices, infrastructure, culture and government policies,” said Oestreich. “No one entity or sector can do all that needs to be done. Local context is the key starting point for successful public-private efforts to increase local agricultural productivity and, ultimately, global food security.”
“The groups involved in collaborations can vary depending on the local needs and the specific issue being addressed,” said Oestreich. “The challenge for governments is not figuring out which groups to bring together, but creating an environment that supports the creation of the collaborations.
“Government policy can help or hinder the ability of organizations to form partnerships necessary for increasing small-scale farmer productivity in developing countries,” said Oestreich. “We must find ways to replicate policies that have supported agricultural development and public-private partnerships.”
He noted that local agricultural development is increasingly recognized for contributing to food security and as an economic development engine that can contribute to political stability.
“By bringing additional focus to the food security and the potential of collaborative, integrated approaches, we can better feed the hungry and contribute to stability and security around the globe.”
Oestreich gave examples of how DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred is collaborating with stakeholders to increase the productivity of small-scale farmers and processors across the world.
Market access collaboration: Pioneer is one of the founding members of the West African Seed Alliance (WASA) – a partnership between aid agencies, private foundations, seed companies, public and private sector plant breeders and governments. Since its inception 18 months ago, WASA has created four new locally-owned and operated seed companies, trained approximately 1,600 farmers and agronomists in the region and is in the process of registering new seed varieties adapted for the local environment and growing conditions.
Research collaboration: Working with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Pioneer established a partnership between world-class research organizations using local infrastructure in rice growing locations to deliver technologies that will increase the rate of yield gains and boost the quality and diversity of hybrids in regions where they are most needed.
Grassroots initiatives: Local Pioneer businesses in Ethiopia have worked with small-scale farmers to develop the local agricultural economy by increasing farm productivity, farmer-by-farmer. Local Pioneer agronomy experts work one-on-one with small farmers, providing them agronomic advice and technology solutions and forming a partnership with the farmer from before planting through to sale of the grain.
Oestreich’s remarks reflect DuPont’s commitment to focus on meeting four emerging global trends, one of which is increasing food production. DuPont has strategically focused on increasing food production, investing more than $700 million annually in research and development in 2009.
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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