September 23, 2014
Skanderborg is a drowsy, Danish village, a half an hour’s drive south of Århus, Denmark. Located between green fields, farms and cozy villages, we find Vestermølle - a renovated 19th century estate now hosting Feeding the Future 2014, setting sustainable agriculture on the agenda – in a region and country that knows the importance of agriculture.
The seminar, organized and hosted by Yara Denmark on 23 September, examined issues linked to the growing urgency to increase food production sustainably - to cope with an ever-growing global population. Over 100 invited guests attended, with representatives ranging from the agricultural press, to research investors and think tank members.
One of the key speakers was Yara’s own Chief Scientist, Joachim Lammel. He gave a presentation on the topic of 'The role of crop nutrition to protect the environment and to meet the need of 9.6 billion people in 2050', which were presented and explained to the audience. Lammel elaborated in detail on the basic principles for best practices in fertilizer management saying, “balanced nutrition is key; high yield combined with nitrogen use efficiency and balanced supply of plant nutrients.” Concluding his session, he said “the global challenge is to produce more food on existing farmland, and Europe in particular needs to contribute to the solution of global food security.”
The conference examined various scenarios of global population growth - and noted that current trends could produce an increase by 2050, equivalent to an additional China and India to feed by mid-century.
Questions posed against a background of continuing population expansion included: What kind of alternative energy would replace the fossil fuels the United Nations Climate Panel hopes will be phased out by the middle of the 21st century?
And how should agriculture cope with the likely demand for more meat as economies, particularly in Asia, continue to grow? This scenario included discussion points such as an analysis of conventional agriculture and the potential need for genetically modified plants.
Øystein Botillen, Manager, Yara’s Global Initiatives, said during his intervention about 'Global initiatives and sustainable agriculture' that “Yara works through various networks, organized by, among others, the WEF and international companies that are part of the food value chain. Together we are able to increase global food production sustainably.” He continued, “Yara as a company is involved in collaborations and joint efforts in Tanzania, where the establishment of Agricultural Growth Corridors and related investments have increased fertilizer accessibility and stimulated economic growth amongst smallholder farmers, as well as in Vietnam where Yara’s coffee collaboration has seen great success.”
A day of keynote speeches was concluded with a panel discussion and Q&A with all participants, followed by a visit to an old mill, where stone-ground flour is still produced using pure, renewable water power.
The concluding words of Joachim Lammel resonate well with overall messages delivered today. “The global challenges we face require local solutions – and Yara will be part of those solutions.”