Interview: Agro industry giant calls for rapid action on biodiversity, climate change

2021-10-14 15:36:08 GMT2021-10-14 23:36:08(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

GENEVA, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Syngenta Group, a world-leading agriculture company, has urged rapid action and more innovation to protect the planet's biodiversity and fight climate change.

Speaking to Xinhua via a video call, Jeff Rowe, president of Syngenta Seeds, said that farming relies on biodiversity, which is crucial for plant pollination, healthy soils, and water purification.

Maintaining agricultural biodiversity is of vital importance to feeding the world, said the official of the Switzerland-based seeds and crop protection firm owned by ChemChina.

In the next 30 years, 50 percent more food needs to be produced to feed 2 billion more people on a planet with finite resources, he said.

"Crop diversity is really critically important. We're also interested in soil biodiversity, which is a new area for us," he said, adding the company looks forward to working with farmers in China and elsewhere in this regard.

He also said another important way to protect biodiversity is to limit and possibly stop deforestation, and "one of the best ways" to do that is to improve the productivity of existing arable land.

Rowe's opinion comes as China is hosting a key biodiversity conference, calling for pooling strength to build a community of all life on Earth.

During the ongoing 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in China's southwest city of Kunming, world leaders, international organizations and experts have warned of alarming biodiversity loss and the urgent need to come up with ambitious and effective solutions.

"Food security, much like biodiversity, is one of the big societal issues that we face across the globe," he said, adding that his company has invested 10 billion RMB (about 1.55 billion U.S. dollars) in new product research and development every year to help China modernize its seed industry and deal with food security.

"We bring science to these types of problems," he said, adding that its company pays attention to improving productivity for growers so that people won't go to bed hungry every night.

Asked about the company's role in tackling climate change and the upcoming 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, which would be held in Glasgow, Rowe highlighted the need for more research and innovation to develop seeds that can withstand extreme weather events.

"Climate change is affecting all of us around the world. Agriculture in general has not been as active or as involved as we should be as an industry on this very important topic. It's something that the Syngenta Group leadership spends a lot of time on."

"We want to bring our innovation and our ability to connect with the public and understand policymakers' objectives so that agriculture becomes part of the solution," he noted. Enditem