By: Christopher Doering
More than a dozen companies, including Walmart, Monsanto and Kellogg, agreed Tuesday to focus on increasing sustainability in agriculture as the planet will need to feed another 2 billion people by the middle of this century.
The business giants pledged to drive more collaboration and efficiency across the current food system. In total, they agreed to bring 8 million acres of farmland into sustainable agriculture programs and eliminate 6 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
As part of the announcement, Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, committed to boost efficiency in its irrigation efforts, saving up to 80 billion gallons of water annually by 2020, by expanding its use of drip irrigation systems. The St. Louis-based company also pledged to develop seeds and tools that allow farmers to better use nutrients and curb greenhouse gas emissions on 1 million acres by the end of the decade.
“Agriculture is at the intersection of many major challenges today – whether it’s growing population and food demand, water availability, soil health or climate change,” said Hugh Grant, chief executive of Monsanto.
Campbell Soup said it would work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water use by 20 percent per ton of food for its five key agricultural ingredients. And soft drink and snack maker PepsiCo promised to work with Walmart to increase the use of sustainable farming practices.
The earth’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, leading food producers to explore ways to feed more people with increasingly scarce resources such as land and water. A total of 842 million people – roughly one in eight – suffered from chronic hunger in the period from 2011 to 2013, most of them in developing regions, according to the United Nations.
Source: Des Moines Register