The need for increased food and fiber production leads three global “mega-trends” that will light the path to a bright future for agriculture, a leader from the crop protection industry told members of the Southern Crop Production Association (SCPA) at its annual meeting in Savannah, GA.
According to John Chrosniak, regional business director, North America for DuPont Crop Protection, a boost in agricultural productivity through technology — on the same or marginally more available farmland — is critical for the world to keep pace with significant growth in both population and wealth in less developed countries.
While the world’s population has grown 12% since 1997, consumption of soybeans has grown 40% and corn 22% in the same period. Meanwhile, the total crop areas harvested to keep up with food and fiber demand has grown only 2% in 10 years, opening up a clear need to continue increasing farming productivity.
Cotton consumption likewise is growing, Chrosniak said, projecting that the current levels of 80- to 90-million-bale annual use levels of recent years will climb to more than 100 million bales by 2015. China alone will account for 47% of world cotton imports in 8 years, pacing the world’s textile giants which also include India and Pakistan.
In the crop protection sector and for DuPont in particular, the goal is to develop inputs that are better, more effective and safer, through a blend of biology, chemistry, and environmental stewardship/sustainability. DuPont also is looking to enhance nutrition through bioscience.
Beyond the need for a greater quantity of food and fiber, Chrosniak also cited the mega-trends of emerging consumer call for greater safety and security, and the move to renewable energy and materials. Biofuel consumption will grow in North America from 5 billion gallons to more than 30 billion gallons in 2020, Chrosniak said. Meanwhile, safe and wholesome foods which are also available and affordable are a growing consumer priority, as are natural fibers that are safe and comfortable — both significant opportunities for crop producers and agribusiness.