John Bedbrook, vice president, DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology, challenged attendees of the 2012 Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference (ABIC) to look for multiple solutions in the fight for global food security. Bedbrook delivered the keynote address to launch the annual conference being held in Rotorua, New Zealand, this year.
“Innovative science and technology are at the core of productivity improvements that will allow us to meet food security goals,” said Bedbrook. “We must leverage all the science and technology tools available, including mechanization, plant breeding, biotechnology and new ideas that are being developed by scientists around the world.”
“The world’s farmers face the daunting challenge of feeding a world population that is expected to grow from 7 billion today to more than 10 billion by the turn of the century,” said Bedbrook. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), by 2050 approximately 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities and large towns.
Increasing productivity on available acres will require improvements in plant breeding, as well as other technologies and management practices that fit local growing conditions and community needs.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution. We must work together to find the right tools to meet local needs,” said Bedbrook. “We must also ensure that science-based policies are in place worldwide to enable innovation.”
Farmers will need to leverage all of the tools to provide sustainable solutions. Biotechnology is one important tool that will help drive productivity to meet the world’s food security needs. In 2011, 16.7 million farmers worldwide planted 160 million hectares of biotech crops, an 8 percent increase (12 million hectares) from 2010. About 90 percent of farmers planting biotech crops were small landholders in 19 developing countries.
“New Zealand has a historical track record of agricultural productivity excellence,” said Bedbrook, a native New Zealander who has spent his career driving innovation in agricultural research. “I hope that this international conference will inspire local young people to enter the field of agricultural research and bring new innovation to agricultural productivity.”
DuPont is committed to improving food security across the globe. In 2011, the company invested 62 percent of research and development budget on improving feed quality. To learn more about how DuPont is committed to driving food security efforts locally, sustainably and collaboratively, visit foodsecurity.dupont.com or follow the conversation on Twitter at #foodsecurity