DuPont partnerships with China's public and private sectors will help increase farm productivity in the country and increase total global supply of key agricultural products, William S. Niebur, vice president -- DuPont Crop Genetics Research and Development, told attendees at the "Globalization of the Seed Industry" Biotechnology and Agriculture Summit here today. The summit was organized by the Science and Technology Commission of the Beijing Municipal Government.
"We need to increase the productivity of each acre of land for China to achieve food security -- and biotechnology will be a key technology in doing so," Niebur said. "China has experienced productivity gains in rice and corn production through hybridization, but growth has reached a plateau. New technologies are needed to achieve the step-change increase in corn and rice production that is required to meet China's growing demand for grain."
China currently is feeding 20 percent of the global population with only 9 percent of the world's arable land. The country's rapidly growing population and rising income have increased demand for agricultural products.
As part of DuPont's growth in China, DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred is committing resources to help improve the productivity of Chinese farmers. It established a business representative office in Beijing in 1997. A year later, Pioneer began breeding and testing corn hybrids for China's summer and spring corn areas. Pioneer established a summer corn joint venture in China -- Shandong Denghai Pioneer Seeds Co., Ltd. -- in 2002. In 2006, Pioneer announced its second joint venture with one of China's largest seed production companies, Dunhuang Seed Co. Ltd.
Pioneer has developed and been promoting the concept of single cross hybrid corn planting among Chinese farmers and invested over US $300,000 (RMB2 million) directly to subsidize farmers in the last season of 2007 for purchase of over 2,000 advanced single kernel vacuum planters. Pioneer also established a partnership with the China National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Center in 2007 to advance hybrid rice in Asia to improve nutrition and living standard through enhancing agricultural productivity for rice farmers. Today, Pioneer has 19 corn hybrids commercially available in China and is working to introduce new biotech traits for corn, soybeans and rice -- crops of particular importance to the region.
Pioneer has a rich research technology pipeline that includes superior herbicide and drought tolerance, insect protection and nitrogen use efficiency traits, as well as innovative healthy oils and biofuels technologies.
"Pioneer is poised to assist China -- and the world -- in meeting growing demand for food, feed, fiber and fuel in a responsible and sustainable manner," Niebur said.
Niebur also delivered the DuPont biotechnology leadership message to the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) at an April 24 seminar in Beijing. CAAS is China's national agricultural research organization, directly affiliated with its Ministry of Agriculture.