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CropWorld Global: Crop Yields to Decline by 12 Per Cent - 5 November 2013

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Tuesday 5th November 2013.
Sarah Mikesell - TheCropSite Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell
Senior Editor



CropWorld Global: Crop Yields to Decline by 12 Per Cent

Greetings from England! I’m visiting my team at our UK office this week.

My colleague Gemma Hyland attended the 2013 CropWorld Global Conference in Amsterdam last week. More than 2,000 international experts from the agrochemical and crop industry, policymakers and regulators from 75 countries met to discuss the future of crop production.

The event focused heavily on the challenges facing the global agricultural community and the solutions required for climate change, population growth and the need to sustainably manage the world’s rapidly growing demand for energy and water.

Adrian Gough, Business Development Manager EMEA, DuPont Crop Protection (UK), said "As the global population grows, the impact on hunger will be dramatic.”

According to the United Nations, global food production must be 70 per cent greater than today’s level to feed the population.

"At the same time, arable land is projected to decline by 11 per cent in developing countries due to climate change. Coupled with water scarcity, crop yields are expected to decline by 12 per cent,” Gough said.

He added that the keys to addressing the global food challenge are science and innovation. But science alone is not enough; the true measure is how science is developed and applied.

"We believe that mankind has the capacity to address the food crisis, but only if the global community can also find the will to address the political, economic, trade, infrastructure and regulatory issues that also play a critical role in achieving food security."

Responsible Water Use

The agricultural sector represents 70 per cent of all freshwater use globally. Therefore, it has a responsibility to do its best to increase water use efficiency, was the message from Peter Easton, Easton Water Consulting.

"In most regions, water is cheap, with the result that it is often not valued as a critical social and environmental resource as it should be. This will, however, become more apparent in coming decades,” he said. “The need to ensure sustainable water use for the planet – for its people and natural environment - should be a major driver in coming years. Efficient water management and irrigation technology will have a vital contribution to make.”

He said one of the most important innovations he sees is much greater respect for the critical role of healthy soil.

"For crops, soil is the most critical resource for water and nutrients. There is a growing trend to re-establishing more natural management of soil, respecting its character, structure and role in maintaining biodiversity.

"There is a growing recognition that natural soils are healthier soils. Such measures as low tillage, winter cover crop, crop rotation and erosion control have proved vital for retaining organic matter and moisture for a healthier soil and healthier and more productive crop."

To read more coverage of CropWorld Global, click here.

Have a great week!

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