Agriculture is a game-changer that addresses multiple global issues — hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, poor nutrition and subsequent effects such as civil unrest, DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman told attendees of the 40th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Switzerland.
“Delivering on the potential for agriculture to address critical, global issues may be the greatest opportunity of our generation,” said Kullman. “It is possible, but it will take a radical new approach to collaboration.”
Kullman attended the World Economic Forum and participated in the panel discussion on “Rethinking How to Feed the World.”
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, food production will need to nearly double by the middle of this century to feed the world population expected at that time. Panelists were asked to consider what it would take to achieve food security, environmental sustainability and economic growth through agriculture.
“Global food security challenges are becoming more complex and interconnected. Collaborations among organizations will need to follow suit — becoming more interconnected to leverage the strengths of organizations across the public and private sectors,” said Kullman.
Kullman said the World Economic Forum’s multi-stakeholder initiative, “A New Vision for Agriculture,” in which DuPont is participating, could become the model for addressing global challenges broadly. The business-led initiative seeks to increase private-sector engagement and partnership with stakeholders including governments, international organizations, farmers’ associations, civil society and academia.
“The need for collaboration between public and private entities is nothing new,” said Kullman. “What is new is the urgency to start listening, not talking past each other and working toward common goals of finding practical, sustainable solutions that can make real differences to people today and can be replicated for others tomorrow.”
Increasing food production is a priority initiative for DuPont. The company invests about half of its $1.4 billion annual research and development budget to furthering this goal. DuPont is currently delivering and developing crops that produce higher yields with fewer resources, improved approaches to controlling crop pests, better accessibility to healthier food ingredients, packaging that extends the shelf-life of food, and food safety testing, among other things.