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Future food production and sustainable innovation

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Future food production and sustainable innovation

At the 2022 Future of Food and Farming Summit, Sam Eathington, executive vice president, chief technology and digital officer at Corteva Agriscience, urges collaborative innovation that is sustainable.

The importance of agriculture and food in the future has never been greater. Even if the causes have already been extensively explored, it is important to reiterate them to emphasise the urgency of our situation.

First, as the world’s population grows, so does the demand for food.

Second, consumers’ demands for a food supply that is produced sustainably and with ethically sourced ingredients are also rising.

Finally, we have a finite amount of natural resources, especially agricultural land.

Climate change is having an effect concurrently. There is pressure from weeds and insects, and there is an increase in illnesses and harsh weather. All of those reduce each acre’s productivity for growing food.

In summary, farmers and society need enhanced goods that address problems unique to farms and fields while also enhancing the sustainability of agriculture as a whole.

Increasing farm output won’t help us solve the problems I just mentioned in the world. The environmental impact of agriculture must be reduced while maintaining a safe, reasonably priced, and plentiful food supply.

Sustainable development

We do this at Corteva by utilizing sustainable innovation. We have promised that the new items we develop will outperform existing products in terms of important sustainability criteria. Our standards, which connect with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations,include conserving biodiversity, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and enhancing water quality and water use efficiency. And by 2025, we expect to have accomplished this aim in all of our products.

‘In comparison to present items, the new products we develop will perform better on important sustainability criteria.’

Additionally, new breeding methods offer a more effective and focused way to create agricultural answers to these changing problems. They have a lot of potential if backed by legal frameworks.

We support an acceptable, scientifically based regulatory strategy for plants produced using novel breeding methods. We think that the features of the product, not how it was made, should be the focus of regulatory supervision. Its safety is determined by the traits of the plant and its genes, not the technique of manufacturing.

‘The use of new breeding methods is truly a revolutionary strategy, and we are so committed to it that we have made the technology publicly available and approachable.’

 Currently, we are collaborating with a wide range of international partners, subject matter experts, and non-profit organizations to make CRISPR technology accessible. Open innovation today is crucial to assisting in the delivery of what is required for the food systems of the future.

Since we firmly believe that new breeding methods are a revolutionary strategy, we have made the technology publicly available and approachable.

Adaptive measures for farmers and consumers

Our plant breeding team’s innovations are advancing the European corn silage business.

Goods made from M3 Silage Corn have lower CO2 equivalent emissions than comparable products while having a higher silage yield that increases energy and milk output. The production of food, energy, and the environment all benefit from this.

Additionally, we are aiming to modify certain soybean varieties to make them better suited for cultivation in Europe’s higher latitudes. Both would promote sustainability goals, while soybeans as a crop that fixes nitrogen would add to the EU’s protein plan.

I have no doubt that our own investments in innovation have been and will continue to be directed toward enhancing the sustainability of global food and agricultural systems.

Cooperation is essential.

Agriculture is at a critical juncture. Delivering innovative tools and technologies to farmers that help them address operational issues and support a more sustainable agricultural system is crucial for the future of food production. I have faith that we can develop a food production system that is suitable for the future by cooperating with farmers. By working together, we can achieve our common objectives and meet this enormous challenge.

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