One of the many challenges facing South Africa is the daily harsh reality for just too many of our people – they go to bed hungry. On World Food Day it is something we are all reminded of. This should be of concern to us all as we live in a country where potentially enough food can be produced to feed all of our people.
The problem is also global. Three-quarters of the extremely poor people in the world base their livelihoods on agriculture and other rural activities. Creating conditions that allow these people, and especially the youth, to farm sustainably and be profitable is a crucial component of any plan to uplift rural communities.
At Monsanto we define sustainability very simply: We are helping farmers produce more with fewer resources to help improve lives. With the help of our partners and continued investment in research and new technologies, we are making steady progress on these sustainability goals.
Monsanto produces seed that assists farmers to grow better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. We also work to find sustainable solutions for soil health, help farmers use data to improve farming practices, conserve natural resources and provide crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease.
Through programmes and partnerships, we collaborate with farmers, researchers, non-profit organisations, universities and others to tackle these challenges. We apply our knowledge through several practices today, like traditional plant breeding, biotechnology, crop protection and precision agriculture.
We are also partners in many rural development programmes that focus on farmer development, but also create business opportunities and jobs that are inclusive and sustainable.
World Food Day is a reminder: something must, and can, be done to help the hungry. –Kobus Steenekamp, MD, Monsanto South Africa
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