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Elanco CEO speaks at world food symposium

"Allowing farmers to use proven management practices and technologies that help them produce food most efficiently, while allowing consumer choice, is the foundation for reducing hunger both locally and globally."

This is according to Jeff Simmons, president of US-based animal health company Elanco. He was a featured speaker on the panel discussing Trends and Threats in Global Agricultural Yields at the 2009 World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, held 13-16 October.

He emphasises the importance of collaboration throughout the entire food system, from government authorities and grocers to consumers and farmers. This removes barriers that can stand in the way of feeding people everywhere.

"Every one of us needs to keep our eye on what is needed to create the ultimate win: an abundant, affordable supply of safe food that is produced sustainably," says Simmons, who recently authored a white paper titled ‘Technology’s Role in the 21st Century: Food Economics and Consumer Choice.’

"Even though the task of feeding a burgeoning world population is huge, I firmly believe we can meet this challenge by embracing management practices that yield safe food efficiently, affordably and sustainably."

Ultimate win

Simmons describes the challenge and solution based on a compilation of credible third-party analysis and research, such as projections by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

"The compelling need and our best chance at meeting that need can be boiled down to 3 numbers: 50,100 and 70,” says Simmons. “Today nearly 1 billion people go hungry every day. In 50 years, the increased world population will need 100% more food than we currently produce. While adding farmland acres and increasing cropping intensity can provide some additional food, the FAO concludes that 70% of the additional food needed can be produced only if we use both existing and new technological innovations in agriculture.”

Natalie Berkhout

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