Curbing Post-Harvest Losses Could Help Agriculture Meet Growing Food Needs - World Economic Forum 2010 Davos, Switzerland

Curbing Post-Harvest Losses Could Help Agriculture Meet Growing Food Needs - World Economic Forum 2010 Davos, Switzerland

DATE 01/02/2010

Investment in agriculture and infrastructure can play a vital role in the general economic recovery and in the broader, long term issues ofserving growing, global needs for food and energy, Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) Chairman, CEO and President Patricia Woertz told an audience of business leaders at the opening of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, today.

The value of agriculture in economic recovery is key, said Woertz, a co-chairman of this year’s Annual Meeting, and urged those in attendance to help ensure that agriculture’s development remains a focus for the world community as the global economic recovery gains momentum.
"My perspective comes from the agricultural sector—where we are keenly aware of the link between agriculture and economic recovery — particularly since agricultural growth is especially effective in reducing poverty,” she said.

"In fact, it is twice as effective in benefitting the poorest half of a country’s population as growth generated in non-agricultural sectors.

"Agriculture plays such a fundamental role in the state of the world,”she said, "yet in other recoveries, agriculture has often been left behind. We’ve got to include agriculture this time.”

A four-pillar framework for agricultural growth.
Woertz is scheduled to speak several times during the Annual Meeting and will be discussing a framework that will help ensure agriculturegrows to meet future needs. Noting that 10 to 20 percent of the global grain harvest is lost each year to improper or inefficient storage and handling, Woertz says,"Clearly, agriculture must do better. Preserving what is already grown is critical to reaching those who need crops most, and to making the most of the land, water, energy and other inputs already used to growcrops.” Woertz says ADM is exploring collaborations with the Postharvest Technology Research & Information Center at the University of California, Davis to help expand knowledge of proper post-harvest handling methods among growers worldwide.

Last year, UC-Davis reported that fully 95 percent of research dollars directed at agriculture were focused on production, while just five percent was dedicated to the study of postharvest handling and infrastructure.

"We think this is an area ripe for public/private partnerships,” Woertz notes.

Mitigating post-harvest losses, she adds, part of a four-part approach needed to ensure agriculture’s ability to fulfill the world’s increasing food and energy needs.

The other three parts are:
-making more efficient use of today’s crops,
-improving productivity on existing farmland, and
-sustainably bringing some additional arable land into production.

Woertz noted that ADM is working with others in the World Economic Forum to help create a "New Vision for Agriculture” that aligns public and private efforts to address food security, to increase agricultural production in an environmentally sustainable manner, and to generate economic growth and prosperity. She said that the World Economic Forum is a "particularly effective forum for fostering the collaborative, multi-stakeholder, holistic approach to critical issues that is most needed now—and will be the approach that leads to practical, lasting improvements.”



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