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Committed to Sustainable Agriculture

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​By Richard Tobin, CEO of​ CNH Industrial

​The concept of feeding a planet with a population projected to grow by 2.5 billion to 9 billion in less than 40 years is daunting. Moreover, the inequality that Danielle Nierenberg highlights between the haves and the have nots is profound and requires definitive actions to address it.

Everyone can and must do their part to restore balance and address productivity needs, but the private sector has a key role to play in areas such as agriculture and agribusiness, sustainable energy, infrastructure and social development, and climate change. As Danielle says, we need action from the global community.

At CNH Industrial, we are striving towards creating a legacy that protects, sustains and provides through different approaches, all targeted on local needs and possibilities. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization identifies up-to-date farming technologies as being crucial to sustainable development. The FAO also stresses the importance of encouraging sustainable private sector development that gives farmers around the world access to the right choice of technology for their needs.

This is at the heart of what CNH Industrial does. Our 50 research and development centers are committed to finding future solutions to today’s problems. In 2015, we spent $856 million, or 3.3% of our global revenues from industrial operations, on R&D and a core goal is to increase soil productivity. To this end we are working on the use of telematics and precision farming to link equipment, land and people – transforming a single machine into a complete system which should ultimately go far beyond the individual product directly to involve industry, policymakers, best-in-class technology providers and universities.

“We are striving towards creating a legacy that protects, sustains and provides through different approaches”

The potential gains are game changing. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that implementing precision agriculture practices, for example, could save 16 million gallons of fuel per year – that represents not just significant savings for growers, but also a great gift for our planet. When applied to water, the savings are possibly even more important given how much of this precious resource is used in food production.

To maximise the global benefits, the key is to be globally consistent but locally relevant. Danielle is absolutely right when she says it’s about diversity – local crops for local conditions. For example, the population in India alone is projected to reach 1.6 billion by 2050, requiring an increase in annual food grain production of more than a third compared with current levels. Our Indian R&D center is focusing on crops that are the least mechanized today and on crop cycle phases where the use of high quality equipment can produce the best improvements in yield.

“Our 50 research and development centers are committed to finding future solutions to today’s problems”

But farming is not just about quantity. It’s about the communities in which farmers operate. In every decision we make, we try to find the right equilibrium between economic profit and social benefit and for four consecutive years our company has been named as Sector Leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability World and Europe indices, receiving the maximum score in several key areas of analysis in the environmental and social dimensions.

CNH Industrial is fully committed to sustainable agriculture. For us, it is not only about new products, it is also about helping the world’s farmers to feed an ever growing population by providing them with the technology and solutions to ensure they can continue to do so long into the future.