2.a) Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries
Based on population growth predictions, in 2008 Monsanto adopted a goal to help farmers double yields by 2030 from 2000 levels, for canola, corn, cotton and soybeans. This will be accomplished through improved seeds and agronomic practices, in countries where farmers have access to a complement of tools including plant breeding, biotechnology, and agronomic management. According to the USDA Department of Foreign Agricultural Service, significant progress has been made, especially in countries of high technology adoption. As of 2016, the following yield gains were reported against the 2030 goal: Canola – 44% of goal; Corn – 33% of goal; Cotton – 28% of goal; Soybeans – 21% of goal. These yield gains are based on a three-year rolling average.
We are involved in several multi-stakeholder collaborations in Africa to help introduce new technologies and practices and develop viable markets. The Water Efficient Maize for Africa project (WEMA) was undertaken because the production of corn in Africa is extremely challenged by the lack of rainfall, ineffective seed varieties and often devastating levels of drought and pestilence. The WEMA project strives to improve food security and livelihoods among smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa by developing hybrid maize seed that uses water more efficiently and resists insect pests. Between 2013 and 2016, the WEMA project has resulted in more than 70 conventional DroughtTEGO™ hybrids being approved for commercial release in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, and 23 seed companies now license new hybrids and make them commercially available to African farmers—with technology donated and concomitant subject matter expertise provided by Monsanto. Farmers using DroughtTEGO™ hybrids have harvested 20 to 35 percent more grain under moderate drought conditions when compared to the seeds they had historically planted.
Cowpea is an important food grain legume in Africa’s dry conditions. Nearly 200 million people consume this crop due to its quality protein content and it is grown on more than 12.5 million hectares of land. Monsanto is continuing to support the efforts of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, a not-for-profit organization working to help improve cowpea productivity. A pest known as the Maruca pod borer can reduce harvests by up to 80 percent. Because most cowpea farmers lack access to effective insecticides, AATF has accessed specific genes from Monsanto to protect cowpea against the Maruca pod borer and is facilitating license agreements and educating farmers on sustainable use of the insect-protected seeds. In 2016, cowpea trials were planted in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi and Nigeria. Additionally, AATF made progress toward commercialization with the filing of regulatory applications in Ghana, Malawi and Nigeria. Moving forward, AATF hopes to expand field trials to additional countries and to continue working with others to bring insect-resistant cowpea to the African marketplace.
6.1) By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
New Well for School Children in Malawi Provides Clean Drinking Water
In 2016 Monsanto Malawi set up a project team to identify nearby communities in need of a sustainable water source. Visiting Kaphulika Primary School just outside Lilongwe, the team realized that the closest source was two miles away in the village.
On a daily base 950 children had limited drinking water and no water for hygiene. The school used sand to clean food pots and rinsed them with a little water to clean them for use in preparation of the children’s lunches the next day.
Monsanto Malawi worked with a contractor to drill a borehole and erect a water pump on the school grounds. In May 2017, the opening was celebrated with song and dance, attended by Monsanto employees, Kaphulika children and the elders from the village. Each child received a plastic water bottle to enable them to take water home each day after school.
The school’s principal said that Monsanto not only provided reliable clean drinking water for 950 children but also for the rest of the village of more than 3,000 people.
8.2) Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labor intensive sectors
In 2008, Monsanto adopted a goal to improve the lives of 5 million resource-poor farm families by 2020. As of the end of our fiscal year 2016, 4.2 million smallholder farmers had adopted biotech farming, resulting in an additional $50 billion in net income for those farmers. An example of a country where we have positively impacted smallholder farmers is Vietnam. In recent years, demand for Vietnamese-grown rice has dropped dramatically, impacting the livelihoods of farmers in the Mekong Delta. The Vietnamese government began helping farmers transition their rice paddy fields to corn and soybean fields, while preserving the rice-growing ecosystem that is still important to the country. Working alongside the government, Monsanto trained 5,000 rice farmers on corn planting techniques. Within three months, farmers in two regions converted 2,200 hectares from rice to corn, increasing their income by up to 400 percent. The new crop rotation process also improved irrigation efficiency and reduced the use of pesticides, fungicides, labor and other costs by as much as 80 percent.
9.5) Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending
Smallholder farmers, who make up about 90 percent of all farmers globally, are often challenged with rural isolation and limited agronomic resources. Since 2010, Monsanto has helped to empower smallholder farmers in India through a free mobile platform called Monsanto Farm AgVisory® Services, which was renamed FarmRise™ - Mobile Farm Care in 2016. Knowing that 70 percent of smallholder farmers globally have access to cellular telephones, we combined agronomic knowledge and mobile technology to bring free, relevant information and advice directly to farmers in the field to help them make decisions for a successful harvest. The number of registered farmers using the platform has grown from 10,000 to more than 4 million, with more than half of the growth occurring in the last couple of years. Monsanto teams in Asia and Africa are working to further expand FarmRise™ for smallholder farmers around the world.
15.5) Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
Farmers for Monarchs is a united effort by farmers, ranchers, landowners and the agriculture industry to encourage and enable the expansion and establishment of pollinator/conservation habitat, including milkweed, along the monarch butterfly seasonal migration route. The initiative includes planting milkweed and other habitat along the monarch butterfly seasonal migration route in North America.
Monarch butterflies face many challenges that have contributed to a significant decline in their population. More breeding habitat and food resources, including milkweed and nectar sources, across the migration route will help monarch populations recover.
Monarch habitat promotes biodiversity and sustainability near productive farmlands as follows:
- Attracts Pollinators
- Improves soil health and water quality
- Houses natural enemies of crop pests
- Increases wildlife diversity
This program was initiated by Monsanto in collaboration with members of the cross-sector Monarch Butterfly Collaborative.