Monsanto Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant participated in a press conference on Friday from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He along with Raj Shah, Administrator, USAID; Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania; and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever unveiled a strategy designed to significantly increase food production while conserving environmental resources and spurring economic growth through agriculture.
"What we are rolling out is our new vision of agriculture," Grant said. "This plan is a new roadmap; it's a practical plan and the time is right for this plan as it is expected that by the year 2050 we will need to double the food supply to feed the growing population."
Grant says the plan is basically 20-20-20. In each decade the goal is to increase food production by 20%, decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 20% and reduce rural poverty by 20%. Tanzania and Vietnam have already implemented this approach and have seen positive results.
The initiative has been led by 17 global companies across the food/ag sector, including: Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, BASF, Bunge Limited, Cargill, The Coca-Cola Company, DuPont, General Mills, Kraft Foods, Metro AG, Nestlé, PepsiCo, SABMiller, Syngenta, Unilever, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and Yara International.
Grant explained the strategy as the coming together of three broad principles.
"The first side of the triangle is food security; how to feed the growing population," Grant said. "The second side of the triangle is economic opportunity and the creation of jobs in agriculture. The final side is environmental responsibility."
Grant says that the farmer is at the center of this plan, whether a large producer or a small holding, it all begins with the farmer, and the right policies for agriculture.
"With these components in place," Grant said. "We have a great opportunity to reach our goal of 20-20-20."