"The potential impact of climate change is accelerating the need to develop seed traits that perform in a variety of growing conditions," Paul E. Schickler, president – Pioneer Hi-Bred
Chicago, IL (Vocus) May 4, 2010
Innovative technologies that help growers adapt to changing environmental conditions will be key to increasing agricultural productivity, conserving natural resources and addressing the potential impacts of climate change, a DuPont leader told attendees at the annual BIO International conference today.
"Understanding current and potential new challenges to a crop within specific geographies is key to a successful plant breeding program," said Paul E. Schickler, president - Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. "That system of working closely with farmers to understand their conditions and testing new varieties in local environments will help ensure we have seed to address the impact of climate change."
Schickler delivered his remarks during the Leadership Summit at the BIO conference, which brought together leaders in government and industry to discuss the role of biotechnology in addressing climate change.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says climate change is among the top challenges to the increases in agriculture productivity needed to feed the growing world population. The FAO says agricultural production could be threatened by higher temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns, and increased occurrences of droughts and floods.
"The potential impact of climate change is accelerating the need to develop seed traits that perform in a variety of growing conditions," said Schickler. Technologies such as drought tolerance and nitrogen-use efficiency traits are expected to deliver high performance in optimal growing conditions and provide yield stability in periods of stress. Continually improving insect and disease resistance and herbicide tolerance traits would help meet the challenge of the possible migration of pests into new regions.
"Advanced biotechnology tools are allowing us to more effectively leverage our understanding of local environments and crop genetics to develop crops for the future," said Schickler. "We have only just begun to tap into the potential of the technology to address the challenge of increasing agricultural productivity as growing conditions change over time."
Food production will need to nearly double by 2050 to meet the demands of the more than 9 billion people expected at that time. DuPont invests more than $700 million in research and development to develop solutions to increase food production.
Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, is the world's leading source of customized solutions for farmers, livestock producers and grain and oilseed processors. With headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, Pioneer provides access to advanced plant genetics in nearly 70 countries.
DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in approximately 80 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.