According to the United Nations, global food production needs to increase 70% by 2050 to feed a population estimated to reach 9bn.
“We need to essentially double the food production over the next 40 years,” said DuPont executive vice president Jim Borel. “For us as a world to respond to that challenge, science has to play a really important role. It’s going to take new solutions, new tools that farmers can use to get more production off of every acre of land they have.”
Much of the investment will go toward researching agricultural developments, such as maximizing crop yields and strengthening agricultural systems to make food more available, DuPont said. But other R&D projects will look at increasing shelf life, boosting foods’ nutritional value, and reducing food waste.
The investment is equivalent to just over $1.1bn per year – around a 38% increase compared to the $800m DuPont invested in research and development in these areas in 2011.
Borel said the company’s newly announced Food Security Goals were intended to increase global food security by the end of 2020. The company also said it aims to introduce about 4,000 new products during this time.
The goals were developed following a report issued by an advisory committee last year, which it had set up to examine food security issues back in 2010.
Borel said: “No one company, no country, no one NGO can solve this problem alone. Instead, the challenge really is for all of us to find new and better ways to work together.”
DuPont had sales of about $38bn in 2011, and its role in food and nutrition has accelerated, particularly with the acquisition of Danish specialty food ingredient company Danisco in May last year.