DuPont initiatives include investment in Ethiopia

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — Ellen Kullman, chairman and chief executive officer of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., unveiled two key efforts that will support collaborative, world hunger initiatives, including an investment in Ethiopia and sponsorship of a global food security index. The initiatives were announced May 18 at the Advancing Food and Nutrition Security at the 2012 G8 Summit, hosted by The Chicago Council on Global Affiars in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

Ms. Kullman said DuPont will invest more than $3 million over the next three years to help smallholder farmers in Ethiopia to achieve food security.

“Based on our work with smallholder farmers and African families, we understand that local solutions, local acceptance and community collaborations are critical to improving food security in Africa and around the world,” Ms. Kullman said. “DuPont will commit additional local resources, including recruiting local talent to run our research and operations in Sub-Saharan countries like Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa, and ensure the solutions we develop are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.”

She announced a pilot project between DuPont and the Earth Institute of Columbia University to create a rapid soil information system to aid Ethiopian farmers with an effective way to diagnose soil constraints in the field and receive recommendations to improve crop yields. DuPont will invest $1 million over three years for the pilot project. Additionally, she said DuPont will invest $2 million to expand seed production and storage facilities in Ethiopia.

The second key effort will be DuPont’s sponsorship of a Global Food Security Index being developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (E.I.U.) to measure the drivers of food security across 105 countries. The index will be published this July and will be a resource for those working to improve food security across the private and public sectors, Ms. Kullman said. The interactive benchmark tool will be publicly available so governments, universities, N.G.O.s and others may access the relevant data to help tailor local solutions regarding food security.

“We need a clear metric that enables us to see, transparently and objectively, what we’re up against,” Ms. Kullman said. “Governments, private and public sector entities need a common language to discuss the root cause of hunger so they can make better informed decisions that drive sustainable action at a local level. We are pleased to support the Economist Intelligence Unit in developing this one-of-a-kind tool for promoting collaboration, generating insights and stimulating action to feed the world’s growing population.”

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