Ellen Kullman, chair and chief executive officer, DuPont, announced two key efforts that would support collaborative world hunger initiatives.
It will invest more than $3 million over the next three years to help smallholder farmers in Ethiopia to achieve food security; and is sponsoring an innovative Global Food Security Index being developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to measure the drivers of food security across 105 countries.
The index will be published this summer and will be a unique resource for those working to improve food security across the private and public sectors. This interactive benchmark tool will be publicly available, so governments, universities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others can access the relevant data to help tailor local solutions regarding food security.
Kullman made both announcements at the Advancing Food and Nutrition Security at the 2012 G8 Summit, hosted by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.
Building on DuPont's substantial commitment to Africa
DuPont intends to forge a strategic alliance with the government of Ethiopia and the Agriculture Transformation Agency to directly benefit the productivity of smallholder farmers in the nation, thereby improving their ability to produce nutritious food for their families and communities.
"Based on our work with smallholder farmers and African families, we understand that local solutions, local acceptance and community collaborations are critical to improving food security in Africa and around the world," Kullman said. "DuPont will commit additional local resources, including recruiting local talent to run our research and operations in Sub-Saharan countries like Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa, and ensure the solutions we develop are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable."
DuPont has operations in 35 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and employs more than 500 people on the continent through its businesses. Kullman said the commitment to grow DuPont's presence on the continent will result in investment to grow these businesses in Africa to more than $1 billion in revenue in the next decade.
DuPont's commitment to grow its business in Africa and explore collaborations in the region is in support of Grow Africa and the G8's New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.
Supporting local solutions in Ethiopia
Kullman also highlighted a specific emphasis in Ethiopia in DuPont's collaboration and expansion efforts:
" She announced a pilot project between DuPont and the Earth Institute of Columbia University to create a rapid soil information system to aid Ethiopian farmers with an effective way to diagnose soil constraints in the field and receive recommendations to improve crop yields. DuPont will invest $1 million over three years for the pilot project
" DuPont's Crop Protection business will work to develop a sulfonylurea weed control offering for wheat to improve productivity, bring novel insect control solutions for cotton and vegetables, and train farmers on the responsible use of crop protection products
" Looking ahead, Kullman said DuPont is exploring a collaboration opportunity with USAID to upgrade agronomic practices and inputs of smallholder Ethiopian maize farmers and increase the profitability of their farms
" DuPont also will invest $2 million to expand seed production and storage facilities in Ethiopia
Bringing new tools to focus global efforts
The Global Food Security Index will be released in July 2012 and will take into account underlying factors such as the affordability, accessibility, availability, nutritional value and safety of food to measure food security and assess vulnerabilities country by country. The index is distinct because it uses 25 indicators and adjusts for food price fluctuations to actively reassess the risks countries face over time.
"We need a clear metric that enables us to see, transparently and objectively, what we're up against," Kullman said. "Governments, private and public sector entities need a common language to discuss the root cause of hunger so they can make better informed decisions that drive sustainable action at a local level. We are pleased to support the Economist Intelligence Unit in developing this one-of-a-kind tool for promoting collaboration, generating insights and stimulating action to feed the world's growing population."
The index supports the continued execution of the Millennium Development Goals and the L'Aquila Food Security Initiative by providing a way to gauge the success of investments in a region and to hone future projects to address exact food security drivers in a particular country.