Global food security, which is increasingly being recognized as a key to national security, will only be fully achieved through well-designed and executed public and private partnerships, William S. Niebur, vice-president – DuPont Crop Genetics Research and Development, told attendees at the Crawford Fund Annual Development Conference held in Canberra, Australia.
“Global food security challenges are becoming more complex and interconnected,” said Niebur. “The need to increase agricultural productivity amid the uncertainties of global climate change, political instabilities, shrinking availability of arable land and increasing world populations present challenges no single company, government or research institution can solve alone.”
Niebur challenged conference participants — both in public and private sectors — to find more effective ways to solve the most pressing food security issues.
“Strong partnerships between public institutions and private companies will be the preferred mechanism to effectively address the increasingly complex challenges we’ll face in the coming decades,” said Niebur. “The most successful partnerships will create clear accountability. They will fully capture the strengths of each partner organization, have clear goals, inputs and timelines in place, and offer distinct benefit to all parties to ensure sustainability of the effort.”
He cited several effective partnerships, including the African Biofortified Sorghum (ABS) Project Consortium led by Africa Harvest, and Scientific Know-How and Exchange Program (SKEP) partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), that are working to increase the nutrient value of food in the developing world and boost crop yields. Both partnerships rely on multiple public and private organizations around the world, with each bringing their unique resources, talent and expertise to bear in a well-orchestrated plan for success.
Niebur’s remarks reflect DuPont’s recently announced commitment to focus on meeting four emerging global trends, one of which is increasing food production.
DuPont has strategically focused on increasing food production, investing more than $700 million annually in research and development with more than 200 germplasm patent applications filed in the first half of 2009.
The 2009 Crawford Fund Annual Conference seeks to explore ways in which the private sector can engage in international agricultural research, development and extension to the benefit of the rural poor. The Crawford Fund's mission is to increase Australia's engagement in international agricultural research, development and education for the benefit of developing countries and Australia.