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Major agribusinesses form food, biofuels alliance

Agriculture.com Staff 07/25/2008 @ 10:38am

The agriculture industry is fully capable of meeting the growing demand for food and fuel, but the right steps must be taken in both business and policy to continue that capability, say the leaders of a new alliance formed by some of the heavy-hitters in agribusiness.

On Thursday, leaders of the Alliance for Abundant Food and Energy (AAFE) introduced the group whose goal is to work with government and industry to ensure the right pieces are in place for production to keep pace with demand for food and fuel. The alliance's founding companies include Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company, DuPont, John Deere and Monsanto. The Renewable Fuels Association is also a charter organization for the alliance.

"With growing global demand for grain, it's critically important that policy leaders start thinking about how we can grow our way to a solution," says Alliance for Abundant Food and Energy executive director Mark Kornblau. "Through greater support for agricultural innovation, we can produce enough crops to supply both our food and energy needs worldwide."

Organizers admit part of the group's genesis is to combat claims that producing both food and fuel is too much for today's agriculture industry to handle, according to an AAFE report.

"Recently, critics have tried to frame the debate as an 'either/or' decision, making people feel they must choose between food and energy security. The Alliance believes this is a false choice that ignores both the capabilities of agriculture and our nation's history of using innovation to solve our problems," according to an AAFE report. "The Alliance realizes both are possible -- and can be accomplished using less land and fewer resources than generally understood."

In addition to working with both agribusiness and government officials to improve overall understanding of the issue and reach solutions to problems posed to the world food supply by an exploding world population, AAFE leaders say it's also important to bring agricultural issues to the forefront in the general public, particularly when it comes to new production technology.

"Agriculture must be higher on our agenda in a world of increasing food and energy demands and limited resources," says DuPont Group Vice President Jim Borel. "While there is no single solution to this issue, technology advancements have, over time, contributed greatly, to increased food productivity and nutritional quality, while limiting the amount of new land required for cultivation. And we're only just beginning to realize the benefit technology innovations can and will have on energy production."

The agriculture industry is fully capable of meeting the growing demand for food and fuel, but the right steps must be taken in both business and policy to continue that capability, say the leaders of a new alliance formed by some of the heavy-hitters in agribusiness.

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