Corteva Agriscience

Sustainable Innovations for Smallholder Farmers

Stories from the 2023 GAP Report partners.

Corteva researchers are collaborating with global agricultural research institutions to bring sustainable innovations to smallholder farmers facing some of the greatest pest, disease, and climate challenges. Together, they are co-developing new seed varieties which will provide vital nutrition to food-insecure regions around the world.  Corteva is collaborating with others and leveraging their leading germplasm library, combined with new breeding technologies, to target critical crops that provide vital nutrition to the most food insecure regions of the world. The Ag Equity Initiatives align with Corteva’s purpose and values to enrich the lives of those who produce and those who consume for generations to come.


Through a program called Ag Equity Initiatives, Corteva is leveraging its own technologies and scientists to bring sustainable innovations to smallholder farmers globally who are facing some of the greatest pest, disease, and climate challenges. In collaboration with USAID, CGIAR, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other key stakeholders, Corteva is co-developing new seed varieties that will provide vital nutrition to food insecure regions around the world. Corteva is also working to advance regulatory frameworks that will enable farmers to access these sustainable innovations.


Maize Lethal Necrosis Impacts Food Security in Eastern Sub-Saharan Africa

Maize lethal necrosis (MLN) is a viral disease that severely reduces grain yield for smallholder farmers. Along with collaborators from CIMMYT, KALRO, USDA, and STAK, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Corteva is using genome editing to develop a MLN-tolerant, locally adapted germplasm that will be released to seed companies in Kenya for the benefit of local farmers and regional food insecure communities. Through the use of genome editing, Corteva is able to cut the development time for MLN-tolerant hybrids in half.


Parasitic Striga Targets Critical Sorghum in Sub-Saharan Africa

Striga is a parasitic weed that targets the roots of sorghum plants, dramatically impacting yields for this major food staple in West Africa. Corteva and its collaborators from Kenyatta University, ISAAA AfriCenter, and AATF, with funding from USAID, are applying gene editing techniques to create a Striga-resistant ‘smart’ sorghum that hinders the host connection by preventing Striga germination and parasitism. By measurably reducing Striga infection, farmers will observe increases in productivity and be better equipped to meet the food consumption needs of millions of people in this arid region.


Solving Pearl Millet Post-Harvest Issues in Africa and India

Nutrient-rich pearl millet has a high lipid content and freshly ground flour becomes rancid within 5-7 days of milling, making it unusable for households and commercial production. In collaboration with The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Corteva Agriscience is leveraging its gene editing expertise to solve pearl millet’s post-harvest rancidity issues, addressing a critical food security challenge especially for women smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and India. Utilizing CRISPR gene editing tools and deep genome knowledge, the improved pearl millet grain will have a shelf life of up to six months, improving harvestable yield, reducing labor challenges, and increasing smallholder incomes through warehouse and distribution opportunities.


Improving Teff Productivity for Human and Livestock Consumption in Ethiopia

Providing up to two-thirds of the daily protein and dietary fiber consumed by millions, Teff is a food staple for people and livestock throughout Ethiopia. This nutrient-rich grain is also gluten-free, making it an important option for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. However, lodging – or the displacement of the plant from the upright position – makes the teff plant more susceptible to diseases and pests, increasing contaminant levels, reducing grain quality, and lowering protein content. Corteva is leveraging gene editing expertise to develop semi-dwarf versions of the teff plant, making it more resistant to lodging and other climate-related issues. Improved teff plants could reduce yield losses by up to 25 percent.

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