Innovative science and collaboration are at the cornerstone to addressing global food security, DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman told international leaders today at the 2011 World Food Prize. Themed, The Next Generation: Confronting the Hunger Challenges of Tomorrow, the annual World Food Prize brings together more than 1,000 global leaders, including former presidents, CEOs from Fortune 500 food and agriculture companies, World Food Prize laureates and policy experts to discuss how to address the current food crises and food security needs for people around the globe.
Kullman shared personal experiences with farmers and communities with scarce access to food. "I've walked through fields with farmers on four continents. I now understand many of the concerns they have and their hopes for the future for their families and communities," Kullman said. During her presentation, she shared a brief video that showcased how something as small as a seed – can make such a significant difference in the lives of farmers, their families and communities. While Kullman said no single company has all the answers, she outlined a few key steps she deems are integral to turning the tide on low food production, lack of access to food and hunger.
Make Sure Science is Local
Though science provides universal answers, Kullman acknowledges that solutions must be localized due to variations in climate, soils, cultural traditions and transportation infrastructure. "At DuPont, we believe that the challenge of feeding the world will require a continuous stream of science-based innovations. And those innovations will have to be precisely tailored to solutions that are local in character." Capacity building, knowledge sharing and agricultural innovations must be shared with people and places that need it most.
Don't Underestimate the Power of Collaboration
Kullman asserted that global food security is not just an agricultural issue. She encouraged attendees to invite the entire supply chain to join this discussion because it will take innovative thinkers from finance and technology to regulatory, health and development to tackle this complex issue. "Together, we can accomplish what no one can do alone."
For more information, visit the Global Collaboratory, which promotes public-private collaborations to ensure farmers and consumers benefit from new technologies.
Invest in Science and Sustainable Solutions
Kullman urged leaders to invest in agriculture and contribute to sustainable global food security solutions. Kullman emphasized DuPont's focus on fostering inclusive innovation to address the world's urgent needs: sustainably feeding the world, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and safeguarding people and the environment. DuPont invests more than 60 percent of its annual research and development budget (approximately $1.7 billion) to ensuring that the world's population has enough food.
Kullman also commended organizations, such as the World Food Prize, who are investing in the promotion of science and agriculture among youth -- the next generation of leaders who will be pivotal in continuing the fight for food security. To support this commitment, DuPont also is investing $2 million in the global 4-H network, the nation's largest youth development organization, to provide the next generation of farmers in developing countries with access to agriculture education, tools and training.
"At the end of the day, no one country, company, government or foundation can meet the global food security challenge alone," Kullman said. "We have to work together through public-private collaborations and through a harmonized, science-based regulatory system to ensure farmers and consumers can benefit from new technologies."