At the 2014 Fruit Logistica event, being held in Berlin from 5-7 February, DuPont Food Chain Manager for the EMEA region, Mr Luigi Coffano, highlighted the challenges faced by a world population that is growing by 150,000 people every day and said that better collaboration throughout the food chain is essential to ensure food security.
“We are going to be faced with around two billion more mouths to feed by the year 2050,” explained Mr Coffano. “And in order to feed these people, food output must grow by 70 percent beyond today’s levels.”
According to projected figures, over the next 30 years developed countries will experience a 12 percent increase in demand for food. However, in developing countries this figure is anticipated to be in the region of 115 percent.
“Humanity is facing a massive challenge,” explains Mr Coffano. “Ensuring that enough healthy, nutritious and safe food is available for people everywhere should be the top priority of all nations, companies and individuals.
“Working with one another is the only way we will be able to feed this ever growing population. Partnering on a global scale will enable us to deliver sustainable solutions for an area that increasingly needs them.
“That is why DuPont is committed to working with others - through collaborations with NGOs, governments, academia and food companies – and by working locally with farmers from Kenya to Mexico to the Ukraine to address their unique challenges and deliver food security,” Mr Coffano adds.
DuPont considers food security to exist when all people at all times have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient and nutritious food that meets their dietary need and food preferences for a healthy and active life. One of the many areas where DuPont is working collaboratively is to reduce food losses at the pre-consumption stages.
Food Chain Key Account Manager for DuPont, Andy Selley, highlighted the scale of the problem.
“Per-capita losses in Europe, Latin, America, North America and Oceania are approaching 200kg per year before food even reaches the consumer,” explains Mr Selley (see graph at the top of the article).
“The DuPont Food Chain team has been working with all stakeholders in the chain, including some of the world’s biggest food processors, to deliver solutions to help reduce the pre-consumption losses.
Mr Selley explained that up to 40 percent of the potato crop for instance is lost in the field before harvest, and that it takes 2-3kg of fresh potatoes to produce 1kg of a processed product such as fries.
“Growers that have used DuPontTM Vydate® nematicide to control free living nematodes typically see better crop establishment, claims Mr Selley. “We’ve listened to processors and now understand their requirements. Reducing the damage caused by nematodes results in a more uniform and better quality tuber that has improved processing characteristics.
“We have also shared our technical know-how to help growers optimise their use of insecticides in some high value crops where insect damage can be devastating. DuPontTM Evalio® AgroSystems is a web-based service that can be used by growers, agronomists and advisers to time the application of insecticides for maximum efficacy,” Mr Selley explains.
DuPontTM Evalio® AgroSystems is offered free of charge to growers. A European network of insect traps is used to monitor the population development of problematic pests such as the Potato Tuber Moth (Phthorimaea operculella) or the tomato leaf miner (Tuta absoluta). A team of experts interprets the findings and sends out warnings to registered users of likely pest infestations.
Potato Tuber Moth (Phthorimaea operculella)
“Growers, their advisers and food processors can register to receive real-time warnings of developing pest populations via SMS, email or on the Evalio® AgroSystems website,” says Mr Selley. “Decisions on when and what to spray can then be made according to the level of threat, and not just on a calendar basis as is often the norm. Crop protection sprays are only used when they are needed and crops are better protected against insect damage.”
Mr Selley concluded by reiterating the need for collaboration at all levels in the food value chain.
“The challenges to world hunger are so formidable that we will succeed only by working together. It is critical that we build trust and share progress, address issues of bio-security and use technology and know-how to improve sustainable productivity. The next generation of agricultural leaders faces a significant task of understanding all the challenges from the grower right through to the consumer. If we collaborate we can make a difference and rise to the challenges of feeding a rapidly growing world population,” concluded Mr Selley.