DuPont: Responsible ag must be a priority to solve world’s food crisis

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NEW YORK — DuPont Group Vice President James C. Borel told a special United Nations meeting on the global food crisis May 21 that providing farmers in developing countries access to improved agricultural technologies and farming techniques is critical in addressing the global food crisis.

Speaking on behalf of the private sector for the International Chamber of Commerce, Borel gave the U.N. Economic and Social Council business and industry’s perspective on immediate and long-term solutions to the food crisis.

Agenda

“Agriculture must be higher on our agenda in a world of increasing food demands and shrinking resources,” he said. “Farmers and agribusinesses are the engines that will enable increases in productivity.

“I assure you that the private sector and the 1.3 billion farmers around the world are eager to help and are committed to being a part of the solution.”

Borel told the group that local farmers, ag retailers, grain handlers and Extension programs should be included in addressing the immediate needs, so that the infrastructure, investments and advancements they provide are not destroyed.

“As we address the short-term needs, do not repeat the mistakes of the past 20 years when agriculture received little policy attention or investment in the areas where it was needed most,” Borel said.

Solutions

He outlined four long-term solutions that business and industry believes 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 use fertilizers 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 adequately disseminated,” Borel said.

  • 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.
  • The World Summit Outcome called on the United Nations’ U.N. Economic and Social Council to serve as a quality platform for the high-level engagement of multiple stakeholders on emerging global trends.

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