DuPont to benefit from global demographic challenge – executive

15 September 2011 15:27  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--DuPont has positioned its business to benefit from global demographic shifts that will see an estimated 1bn people becoming middle class between now and 2020, a senior company executive at the US-based chemicals major said on Thursday.

“Our world is changing rapidly as the population grows and income expands in emerging markets,” said Paul Schickler, president of DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred business.

DuPont, for it part, is “honing in” on key business opportunities from these demographic challenges and changes – especially opportunities in the areas of food and agriculture, fuel, and protecting people and the environment, Schickler told analysts at a webcast investor conference in New York.

Importantly, DuPont will continue to expand its agricultural and food business following completion of its $6.3bn (€4.6bn) acquisition of Denmark's Danisco earlier this year, Schickler said.

About 60% of DuPont’s research and development spending focuses on the food production and agricultural sector, he said.

“It’s clearly a great time to be in the ag industry, the opportunity to impact important global change is real,” Schickler said.

The combined impact of the growing population and growing economies in many emerging countries increases demand for food and nutrition, and increases the demand for productivity on every hectare of farmland, he said.

“As population growth continues, we must be more productive on every hectare of land that is farmed,” he added.

The challenge is reflected in high commodity crop prices, as well as high farm income, which is expected to record a 30% year-on-year increase in 2011, he said.

Both commodity prices and farm income are underpinned by low world stocks-to-use ratios, he said.

“Clearly, innovation has been driving productivity, but still, total stocks remain tight,” Schickler said.

DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred business, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, develops and supplies advanced plant genetics, providing high-quality seeds to farmers in more than 90 countries.

($1 = €0.73)

For more on DuPont and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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