(part 3 in our series covering the CNBC Africa panel discussion on the importance of technology in improving food security in Africa)
Pioneer has committed to help improve agricultural research and technology by investing R62 million by 2017 to establish a new regional technology hub in South Africa to serve the continent. The town of Delmas, Mpumalanga, South Africa, will serve as a technology center for the hub, which is comprised of a network of research and testing locations around South Africa and Africa.
The hub will apply advanced seed breeding technologies, such as doubled haploids, ear
photometry and the proprietary Pioneer Accelerated Yield Technology or AYT™ System, as well as genetic breeding technologies like marker-assisted selection, to shorten breeding cycles and improve accuracy toward breeding targets – including improved resistance to drought, insect and disease pressures, as well as improved yields with limited inputs, such as fertilizer.
“One of the problems in Africa is that food production is traditionally organized at the village level, resulting in small-scale planning that is based on immediate needs,” Dr. Norman Maiwashe, a senior researcher at the Agricultural Research Council, told the CNBC Africa panel in a program that aired August 20. “We need to change our thinking to focus on long-term requirements. We have to bring science into the equation.”
According to Paul E. Schickler, president of DuPont Pioneer, collaboration between NGOs, the private sector, government institutions, and academia as well as small-scale and commercial farmers, is crucial to foster a more embracing culture towards new farming technologies. “Only by working together will Africa be able capitalize on its inherent natural resource endowments and ensure long-term national and household food security.”