Corteva Romania advances sustainable initiatives to support farmers

Green Forum
Corteva Romania is committed to promoting sustainable agricultural practices among Romanian farmers and aims to support them by providing innovative seed and crop protection technologies that not only enhance crop yields but also safeguard the environment and support livelihoods. At the same time, the company is working to advance its sustainability commitments in the four focus areas of sustainable innovation, climate, biodiversity, and inclusion, diversity and equity (ID&E). This will help create a prosperous future even in these difficult times for the agriculture sector, said Jean Ionescu, Country Leader for Romania and the Republic of Moldova at Corteva Agriscience, in an interview for Green Forum.

Can you elaborate on Corteva Romania's specific goals for promoting sustainable agricultural practices among Romanian farmers?
  
Our company is committed to solving complex food and energy security challenges while preserving the long-term health and viability of farmland and other natural resources. Our global sustainability strategy reflects four sustainability focus areas where we can add the most value and which emphasize sustainable innovation, biodiversity, climate, and inclusion, diversity, and equity. Corteva Romania is deeply committed to promoting sustainable agricultural practices among Romanian farmers. We aim to support them by providing innovative seed and crop protection technologies that not only enhance crop yields but also safeguard the environment and support livelihoods.
 
Crop protection products use is a concern for some consumers. How is Corteva Romania helping Romanian farmers adopt integrated pest management (IPM) strategies to reduce reliance on chemical controls?
 
Our team is dedicated to driving sustainable innovation, and thanks to a world-class R&D program we are proud that 100% of newly developed Corteva solutions in our pipeline now meet our sustainability criteria. We will continue working hard to contribute to food security and advance environmental stewardship, maintaining this progress through and beyond.
 
Our expansive range of seed and crop protection technologies, and our Biological solutions, are not only revolutionizing agriculture but also shaping a sustainable future for farmers worldwide. These innovative solutions represent a fundamental shift towards more environmentally friendly farming practices. By investing in innovation, we can reduce active ingredient content on seed surfaces and enhance precision in application, aligning with the EU's climate objectives and driving towards a more sustainable future for agriculture. This isn't just innovation, it's a commitment to sustainable farming practices and a testament to the value we bring to our customers and stakeholders.
 
How is Corteva Romania aligning its product offerings and recommendations with the spirit of this EU initiative specifically in the Romanian context? Are there any ongoing collaborations with Romanian policymakers or agricultural associations in this regard?
 
In 2023, our efforts continued to empower farmers worldwide to achieve more with less, echoing the objectives of global initiatives like those spearheaded by the EU. Through industry-wide advancements in technology and innovation, farmers have increased their yields by an impressive 30% over the past two decades, resulting in a 40% boost in food production while using fewer resources and minimizing environmental impact. While there is still much progress to be made, our entire pipeline and product portfolio are strategically crafted to enhance food security, promote renewable fuels, and equip farmers to adapt to evolving field conditions.
 
Furthermore, our recent acquisitions of Stoller and Symborg consolidate our position as a global leader in biological plant health solutions, enriching our portfolio with natural technologies that optimize crop potential in farming systems. Derived from living organisms or natural substances, our Biological products are also helping farmers meet consumer demand for natural-origin products.
 
In Romania, we are also working with strategic key partners in leveraging sustainable practices to support a resilient food system and a prosperous future for local agriculture. This is why from the beginning of our activity in Romania we aligned with stakeholders such as the Plant Protection Industry Association of Romania (AIPROM) or Romanian Seed Industry Alliance (AISR), shared our insights, and learned from their feedback.
 
Beyond its core business, is Corteva Romania involved in any social responsibility initiatives that address the needs of rural communities in Romania? Can you provide a specific example?
 
Corteva Agriscience partners with local and regional communities through outreach programs around the world, working towards our mission: to enrich the lives of those who consume and those who produce, ensuring progress for generations to come. We are committed to purpose-driven sustainability, and we work to contribute to global food security, support farmers, advance environmental stewardship, protect the environment, and bolster rural communities. Additionally, our dedication to inclusion, diversity, and equity empowers us to deliver innovative breakthroughs for our farmers and to foster a future in which all our people flourish.

Corteva believes in the fundamental role of women in agriculture and we have special initiatives to help them succeed and bring prosperity to their communities. For example, we have implemented the educational grant program TalentA in 9 countries around the world. TalentA extends far beyond individual success stories – it provides practical support enabling women to thrive in the agricultural sector. It not only offers financial support to help rural women make their innovative projects a reality, but also forges a resilient network of women entrepreneurs across diverse landscapes. To date, TalentA has significantly impacted over 1,200 women worldwide, fostering personal and professional growth. Since the program launched in Romania four years ago, 250 women have participated in the educational courses and Corteva has provided grants worth $60,000 for the 12 winning projects. The winning TalentA projects were selected due to their efforts to advance food security through various means, such as the provision of essential sustenance, facilitation of clean water access, mitigation of food waste, efforts to combat climate change, and endeavors towards preserving ecosystems. For women in agriculture, TalentA serves as a catalyst, transcending borders and building a global community.
 
What are some of the emerging trends in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) that Corteva Romania is focusing on, and how is the company preparing to address them in the Romanian agricultural context?
 
Through scientific advancement Corteva is helping solve some of the toughest problems facing agriculture. Assisting farmers in navigating the interconnected obstacles posed by population growth, climate shifts, and regulatory and pest issues is increasingly critical. As we look ahead, our company is enthusiastic about utilizing R&D investment to advance both our own and our customers' sustainability objectives.
 
For example, New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) represents a transformational technology as a natural extension of plant breeding that uses the plant's own DNA (unlike to genetic modification) to develop new seeds that fight disease, increase yield potential, and adapt to changing environments. NGTs allow us to develop the solutions that farmers need faster, more efficiently, and more precisely than ever before. We believe in collaboration and enabling others, and through our open innovation approach our company has made the technology accessible to others globally. In this way, we can work together, including with academics and start-ups, to advance the technology and realize the potential of gene editing.
 
Corteva Agriscience remains committed to transparency and collaboration, actively participating in discussions to shape the future of agriculture. We look forward to working closely with policymakers and stakeholders to create an environment where innovation thrives, providing farmers with the necessary tools for sustainable growth. It is crucial to continue collaborative efforts with policymakers to establish a science-based and pragmatic framework for NGTs that should foster innovation, allowing farmers to significantly enhance productivity and the quality of products offered to consumers.
 
Are there any areas where Corteva Romania anticipates focusing its ESG efforts more intensely than the global strategy, to address unique sustainability challenges in Romania?
 
Corteva Romania is working to advance our sustainability commitments in the four focus areas of sustainable innovation, climate, biodiversity, and inclusion, diversity and equity (ID&E). This will help create a prosperous future even in these difficult times for the agriculture sector. One major concern for Romanian agriculture is the significant changes in drought conditions observed in the summer months with a significant drying trend. The consequences are visible - figures from the European Drought Observatory show that in 2024, 65.2% of Romania's land area is in the process of drying out, and in the last 2-3 years farmers in the South, South-East and South-West of the country have been affected by severe drought conditions.
 

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Green Forum  |  17 May, 2024 at 9:00 AM