WASHINGTON D.C. -- Increased agricultural productivity in developing countries can increase national security, but it requires supportive governments, a holistic approach, and local implementation, Paul E. Schickler, president of DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred, told attendees today at The Chicago Council's Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security.

Senior leaders from the Obama administration, U.S. Congress, business, policy, NGO and international organizations discussed policy and implementation challenges confronting U.S. and international food security activities and its contribution to national security.

The Obama administration, which has identified food security as a key component of national security, unveiled its strategy for the U.S. government's global hunger and food security initiative at the symposium.

"Recognition of the role that agricultural development can play in a country's economic development, stability and security is critical," said Schickler.  "The difference between a farmer having access to improved farming practices or not can often be traced to a country's supporting structures and policies."

He noted that sustainably increasing agricultural productivity requires a holistic view and collaboration across the value chain and across the public and private sector.

"There are many things that farmers can do within a field to increase their output, but their limiting factor often lies elsewhere," Schickler said.  "In addition to getting the right inputs, they also need, for example, to have a market for the crop they produce and a way to move the grain from their farm to their customers.

"The fact that successfully increasing agricultural output can be limited by so many different things is why collaboration is key to increasing global food security," he said.

Schickler noted the recent partnership in India between DuPont and Uttar Pradesh Government's Department of Agriculture as an example of how sectors can work together in new ways to improve food availability and livelihoods in areas facing chronic food insecurity.  The alliance was formed to get hybrid rice and mustard to small and marginal farmers to help optimize farmer inputs and improve net income.  Farmers will be able to access farm schools to receive agronomic and technical training and advice on crops during critical stages of development.

"Agriculture is intrinsically local, and we work hard not to forget that as we are working to bring better performing crops to developing markets," said Schickler.

SOURCE: DuPont.