Agricultural Leaders Highlight Importance Of Water For Global Food Security
Monday, June 4th, 2012
Agriculture leaders from Global Harvest Initiative (GHI) member companies spoke on an Industry Leaders Panel at the University of Nebraska's fourth annual Water for Food Conference to highlight the importance of water in global food security and to discuss the role of the private sector in helping increase agricultural productivity worldwide.
Panel members discussed water as one of the most valuable resources in agricultural production, and how investments in research and new technologies are critical to better manage this increasingly limited resource. Below includes several insights from GHI agricultural leaders addressing both the challenges and potential solutions to improving water productivity:
"Drought affects productivity more than any other type of stress. By 2025, two-thirds of the world population could be under water stress conditions. We must innovate together at the local level, while using all of the technology available to us to solve this global challenge."
- John Soper, Vice President of Research and Crop Genetics, Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont Business
"With rising global incomes, much of it in the developing world, food animal protein consumption per person is projected to increase significantly, and new technology and innovation will be critical to smart water use. Therefore, the time is now for society to understand and adopt technologies in food and agriculture that help ensure water quality and sustainability."
- Claudia Garcia, Senior Director of Global Corporate Affairs, Elanco
"The demand on existing water supplies continues to increase due to many factors including population growth, the desire for better diets in the developing world and the resultant competitive demand from food, fiber and biofuel crops. Water supplies, that can allow for clean, usable water, must not only exist within each agricultural region, but effective irrigation management systems using new technologies such as precision irrigation products and monitoring and control systems will improve output per unit of input and thereby help drive agricultural productivity while stewarding our natural resources."
- Graeme Jarvis, Director of Latin America Technology Innovation Center, Deere and Company
"According to the United Nations' World Water Development Report, farmers will need at least 19 percent more water by 2050 to meet global food security needs. By applying advanced analytics technology starting at the sensing of plant's or animal's needs for water, we can reduce water use, which is more sustainable and profitable. With analytics, we can do things like use Deep Thunder and hydrology models for sensing and predicting to determine precisely where water is, will be (after precipitation), and is not needed - then optimize water pressure and/or drip irrigation to only provide what is needed, precisely when it is needed."
- Richard Kottmeyer, Global Agriculture and Food Leader, IBM
"Global crop productivity can be severely hampered by drought, which accounts for approximately 15 percent of yield losses worldwide. With the use of technologies and practices, we can develop more drought-tolerant systems in the developing world to help stabilize yields and mitigate future food emergencies that often coincide with drought."
- Natalie DiNicola, Vice President of Sustainable Agriculture Partnerships, Monsanto
For more information on water productivity challenges and how the private sector is actively investing in solutions to meet future agricultural needs, please see GHI's fact sheet, " Providing Solutions to Water for Food Challenges ."
Global Harvest Initiative