Report Released Addressing Food Productivity Gap

Committee says collaboration is needed for food production to match growing demand.

Published on: Jun 8, 2011

On Tuesday the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Innovation and Productivity for the 21st Century released a report with recommendations on ways we can close the food productivity gap. The world population is expected to pass 9 billion by the year 2050 and there will be a need for not only a greater quantity of food but also the quality and nutrition provided by that food to increase health and wellness.

Last year Dupont invited a select group of thought leaders to come together to help understand the best public policy mechanisms and business practices that will be needed to increase global agricultural production.

Chaired by former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle, the committee includes Charlotte Hebebrand, chief executive of the International Food and Agricultural Policy Council; Jo Luck, the 2010 World Food Prize laureate and president of Heifer International; J.B. Penn, chief economist for Deere and Co.; and Pedro Sanchez, the 2002 World Food Prize laureate and director of tropical agriculture at Columbia University.

"This event marks the culmination of a year and a half long effort on the part of the committee to explore the issues surrounding global food security," Daschle said. "But it also marks the beginning of how we better engage all stakeholders to help solve the challenges ahead in closing the food productivity gap by 2050."

Daschle says the food security challenge is one of the most substantial facing the human race today and one that threatens the political and economic stability of nations around the world. He says it is a problem that should matter to everyone from policy makers to the public and private sectors and to farmers and consumers alike.

"Our report outlines three primary challenges," Daschle said. "First we must produce more food and more nutritious food through better technology, better practices and by ensuring that knowledge is transferred to farmers everywhere and that they have the essential tools to do the work."

Daschle says that the public and private sectors will need to collaborate to enhance the nutritional value of indigenous crops to address malnutrition.

"The second primary challenge is to make sure that food is accessible and affordable," Daschle said. "The world is becoming increasingly urbanized and people are moving away from where food is grown, which will make the movement of food even more critical."

Daschle says greater social safety nets will be required as well as an open and fair trading system, sound and science-based regulatory structures, increased investment in infrastructure, and increased access to markets.

"Our final challenge is to do all of this in an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable way," Daschle said. "That includes working to continuously improve the sustainability of farming practices and technology. It includes coming up with solutions that stand the test of time and promote entrepreneurship."

Daschle says this will require youth development, leadership and science education to train the next generation of farmers, scientists and innovators.

For more information about the recommendations and to view the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Innovation and Productivity for the 21st Century's report, click HERE.

Following the release of the report a panel discussion of the other committee members was moderated by Alan Bjerga of Bloomberg News. To listen to the panel discussion, use the audio player on this page.