Finding Solutions for Local Food Systems

A farm worker is busy cutting sugarcane in the field.
A farm worker is busy cutting sugarcane in the field.

Science is Universal But Solutions Are Local

Although science provides answers that can be applied universally, DuPont believes that solutions for local food systems must be developed at a community level in order to succeed. This is mandated by wide variations in environmental factors, including climate, soils and pests, as well as by cultural traditions and issues surrounding transportation and distribution infrastructures.

Malawi in southeast Africa is one of the world’s least developed countries. Its economy is primarily agricultural, its population largely rural. Peanuts and sorghum are staple foods for the majority of the population, but neither delivers sufficient protein. Raising livestock for protein is impractical due to cost and lack of grazing land. Solae, LLC has worked with local farmers and leaders in Malawi to develop a protein-rich soy supplement that can be provided directly to the people.

The BAX® detection system, created by DuPont Qualicon is used around the world to identify bacterial contamination in food at the genetic level. Because standards and regulations for pathogen detection can vary from country to country, DuPont Qualicon may develop customized solutions for local needs. For example, U.S. regulations mandate that food products must be free of Listeria, so the BAX® detection system tests for its presence or absence. In the European Union, however, a threshold for Listeria has been established in certain foods that do not offer a medium for growth. So DuPont Qualicon developed an alternative protocol to detect Listeria above or below the allowable thresholds.

Protecting crops from indigenous pests in ways that accord with local practices, traditions and conditions is critical. In China, where plots of farmland are often less than a hectare (2.7 acres) in size, DuPont Crop Protection packages products in sachets of only five milliliters to meet local needs. In India, where farmers prefer granulated crop protection formulas, products were developed to meet that agronomic practice. DuPont Crop Protection has more than 20 core research centers worldwide, working in partnership with local farmers and government groups.

Experts from DuPont Pioneer were working with local Filipino rice farmers to increase crop yields with hybrid rice varieties when they recognized that the traditional method of seed bed planting resulted in major loss of yield to rodents, birds and insects prior to transplanting. DuPont consulted with Inca Plastics and local farmers to develop and distribute a rice drum seeder so farmers could plant pre- germinated hybrid seeds, increasing yield while reducing labor. The introduction of low cost mechanization makes farming more productive while delivering a potential yield advantage of 600 kilograms compared with seed bed planting.

Learn more at: DuPont Food Security