In order to be considered sustainable, agriculture has to be improving, while also improving the lives of everyone involved.
That means society needs available, affordable, nutritious food, the environment needs to be cared for and farmers around the world have to earn a fair return for their hard work.
At Monsanto we’re aiming to improve lives, including an additional 5 million people in resource-poor farm families by 2020. We’re focused on delivering innovative products that can have a positive effect on the quality of life for all farmers, their families and the rural communities in which they live. It can also have a positive effect on consumers and society overall.
Worldwide, 925 million people—almost 1 in 7—go to bed hungry. One of the biggest challenges we must overcome in addressing this issue is blending a technical approach to farming that increases productivity with an environmental approach that promotes sustainability. The blending of technologies with an eye on sustainability is the basic platform on which we develop products and technologies.
Rice and wheat are two staple crops critical to the food security of billions of people around the world. Together, they feed more than half of the world's population. However, yield improvements in rice and wheat lag behind other crops. Recognizing the importance of rice and wheat in global food security, Monsanto Company pledged $10 million to improve yields in these crops as part of its commitment to sustainable yield. Monsanto’s Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program is the result of that pledge. The prestigious fellowship program seeks to help advance research in the production of rice and wheat and to develop highly educated rice and wheat plant breeders who can serve as future agricultural leaders.
Making food more nutritious
Agriculture sits at the center of finding solutions for many of the world’s issues – food security, renewable energy sources, and climate change to name a few. Isn’t it only appropriate it should play a role in improving human health?
Our commitment to sustainable agriculture is based on producing more while using fewer resources but it’s important that we dig a little deeper into that pledge. We don’t want to stop at just producing more, we want to make sure the food on your table is good for you. Part of our research and development is devoted to developing seeds that produce food that has improved nutritional qualities.
One product to come out of our mission to improve nutrition came from Seminis, one of Monsanto’s vegetable seed brands. Seminis teamed up with Apio, Inc., to bring a better variety of broccoli to the market. The Beneforté broccoli naturally contains 2-3 times the phytonutrient glucoraphanin as a single serving of other leading broccoli varieties grown under similar environmental conditions. Glucoraphanin naturally boosts the body’s antioxidant enzyme levels, and these enzymes help maintain the antioxidant activity of vitamins A, C and E in your body. These antioxidant vitamins help protect your body from damage by free radicals and other environmental stresses.
Encouraging prosperity for all
When the quality of farmers’ lives improves, they are in a better position to help feed the increased demands of a growing population.
We use the technology to develop better seeds and nurture the partnerships to develop new agronomic practices that can have a huge impact on the lives of farmers. And for all the world's farmers who raise themselves from poverty to prosperity, many more people will also prosper, through healthier diets, greater educational opportunities, and brighter futures fueled by more robust local economies.
Biotech has been a key tool for smallholder farmers. Based on global meta-analysis data compiled by ISAAA and PG Economics, 700,000 resource-poor farmers adopted biotech crops for the first time in 2008. These farmers achieved US$1.1 billion in additional net income as a result of this technology adoption.