To meet the challenge of closing the productivity gap we must invite all ideas to the table
Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) September 22, 2009
Chief executives of four leading agricultural companies pledged Tuesday to work collectively with public and private entities in an effort to close an imminent productivity gap to meet the needs of a growing and more affluent world population. The commitments highlighted the Global Harvest Initiative's day-long symposium, Agriculture at a Crossroads, aimed at raising awareness of the global productivity gap--the difference between the current pace of output expansion and the far more rapid pace required to meet future agricultural needs--and sharing of ideas to address it.
A host of influential leaders from agriculture, food production, environmental, non-government organizations and government officials, including U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., shared their particular perspectives about ways to double global agricultural output in an environmentally responsible and sustainable fashion by 2050.
A CEO round table discussion featuring Patricia Woertz, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Ellen Kullman, DuPont, Samuel Allen, John Deere and Hugh Grant, Monsanto - concluded the daylong session, with the executives candidly outlining the enormous challenge faced by global agriculture and advancing suggestions for collectively addressing it through public and private partnerships that facilitate agricultural innovations and larger productivity gains.
"To meet the challenge of closing the productivity gap we must invite all ideas to the table," said Woertz, Chief Executive Officer and President of Archer Daniels Midland Company. "It will take a unified effort by private industry and government and non-governmental agencies to address the problem."
The symposium provided a forum for thought leaders from a broad spectrum of agriculture, food production, hunger, environmental, NGOs and government officials to share ideas for bridging the global productivity gap.
"We know that we can't wait until 2050, or even 2020, to begin addressing this problem," said Ellen Kullman, Chief Executive Officer of DuPont. "We need to start right now to focus on agricultural solutions through innovation, investment and government policy."
Sam Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer, John Deere, echoed the sentiments of his industry peers and many at the conference, in calling for substantial public and private investments to accelerate agricultural innovations.
"We need investments to improve storage, distribution and processing technology to minimize post-harvest losses particularly in developing countries," Allen said. "Our efforts must include both commercial and small-holder farms if we are to meet future agricultural demands."
Hugh Grant, Monsanto's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said the conference provided a great forum for all stakeholders to begin sharing ideas and discussing solutions that will help to close the gap in an environmentally responsible way.
"Doubling productivity by 2050 in a sustainable manner will require not just innovation and investment, but also partnerships at all levels," Grant said. "With the Global Harvest Initiative, we call on all of the agriculture, conservation and hunger organizations to walk shoulder to shoulder with us to help close the productivity gap."
Supporting the call to action, Bill Lesher, Executive Director of the Global Harvest Initiative, said: "These four companies spend some nine million dollars a day on research to develop new technologies, but more needs to be done in order to meet the goal. We look forward to working with stakeholders at all levels to sustainably double productivity by 2050."
A webcast of the symposium will be available on the Global Harvest Initiative's website at http://www.globalharvestinitiative.org.
The Global Harvest Initiative is dedicated to spurring the development and sharing of agricultural innovations with those that need it most. It is underwritten by funding from the Archer Daniels Midland Company, DuPont, John Deere and Monsanto. Further support is welcome from public and private sectors entities sharing the goal of closing the global productivity gap. For more information, visit the Harvest 2050 Blog or http://www.globalharvestinitiative.org.