The challenge of global food security should be the top priority of all nations, companies and individuals, according to William Niebur, DuPont vice president and general manager of Pioneer China. He told attendees at the 5th International Biotechnology and Agriculture Summit in Beijing this week that it will take everyone—working collaboratively—to ensure every person has enough nutritious and safe food to eat.
“With nearly 1.4 billion people in China, a population base that is migrating to large cities, and arable land that is stable to declining—it is imperative that we work together to sustainably increase the productivity of every area of land, every hour of field labor, and every unit of water and fertilizer,” said Niebur. “Without question, China will play a critical role in achieving global food security.
“DuPont and its Pioneer seed business are committed to working with China—through collaborations with the government, academia and others in the industry, as well as working directly with millions of China’s farmers, to address challenges,” Niebur said.
Pioneer’s practice for sustainably increasing agricultural productivity requires a comprehensive approach to plant breeding that includes: breeding specifically for local environments; using molecular markers for gene selection; developing plants with more resistance to diseases and insects, as well as tolerance to herbicides; improving nutrient use and nutritional content; and making plants better able to withstand environmental stresses such as drought.
Pioneer sees biotechnology as another one of the many powerful tools available today that will enable the increase of agricultural productivity and sustainability. The business will use its global research network and experience to help to bring leading molecular breeding and biotechnologies to China. In February, DuPont announced that it had signed a multi-year lease agreement with Beijing International Flower Port to build a state-of-the-art Technology Hub. The new facility will be used for developing new high-yielding maize hybrids for China.
Niebur stressed that DuPont will work with China for the long-term. “Our plans, integrated business model and professional competencies align well with the view for the seed industry of the State Council of China and the No. 1 document. Pioneer will continue to contribute collaboratively to the productivity and security of China’s food supply—now and in the years to come.”
Pioneer’s presence in China is deeply engrained in the local seed industry through two corn seed business joint ventures, one research joint venture through Beijing (Peking) University, and numerous research collaborations with the China Ministry of Agriculture and Chinese Academies of Science and Technologies.