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New Approaches to Feeding a Hungry World
DES MOINES, Iowa (Agriculture.com) -- Chris Policinski is
worried that the U.S., in particular, is approaching the issue of
feeding nearly 10 billion people from a “rich country point of view.”
Policinski, Land O’Lakes president and CEO, just got back
from Africa, where he was visiting the company’s global project sites firsthand.
A single mother farming in Kenya significantly impacted Jim Borel, executive
vice president of DuPont.
These big names in agriculture want everyone to understand
that the stakes are high for figuring out how to feed a hungry, growing
“We need to remember that we need to produce more food in
the next 40 years than we have produced in the last 10,000 years,” said Borel. “We’re
living in the midst of the largest wave of urban growth in history.”
At the World Food Prize, Borel stressed using innovative
approaches at a local level. Strengthening the many different kinds of
agriculture systems is key and creating nutritious food that is regionally
appropriate plays a role in that. Cutting back on food waste and getting
farmers the resources they need to be successful would be a good start.
To combat regional issues, DuPont continues to develop new
seed varieties that help farmers overcome challenges like infertile soil and
drought. The company is investing $10 billion in research and has developed
over 2,300 products so far.
“While the population turns toward urban centers, we can’t
turn our backs to rural agriculture,” said Borel. “Farmers are the backbone of
our food and agricultural systems.”
Land O’Lakes has created a program called the Global Food
Challenge that accepts 10 students each year. The young leaders are taken
overseas, to rural America, and to Washington, D.C., to better understand what it
will take to feed the growing population. At the end of the year, each student
presents his or her thoughts on how to solve the world’s problem.
Although the agriculture industry has made incredible
advances, Policinski is concerned about where people are getting
information about their food.
“The Internet is where 98% of Americans get their information about where
their food comes,” Policinski stressed. “We have a great
story, but we aren’t telling it.”
With a combination of NGOs, consumers, the agriculture
industry, and academia, Policinski believes the public will become more
educated, and talent will be attracted to the agriculture field.
Jim Borel gave a speech titled “Innovation: An Essential
Ingredient to Feeding 9 Billion” on Thursday during the World Food Prize
festivities. Chris Policinski also presented “The Global Food Security
Challenge” on Thursday morning.
For more information, see WorldFoodPrize.org.