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Soon after 5% layoffs, Corteva report spotlights food security concerns


Just a week after reports of layoffs were announced by seed and pesticide company Corteva Inc., the company has released information from a report detailing concerns for global food security. 

The eleventh annual Global Food Security Index (GFSI) report scores the state of food systems in 113 countries. The index shows the global food security environment continued to deteriorate after hitting its peak in 2019. 

According to Reuters, Corteva’s exodus is planned from 35 countries. The layoffs roughly add up to 5 percent of the company’s global workforce — part of a plan to cut company costs. The company employs about 21,000 people globally.

“Long-term food security depends on addressing some of the major challenges in the agriculture industry that affect farmers,” said Tim Glenn, Executive Vice President, Seed Business Unit, Corteva Agriscience. “Sponsoring the Global Food Security Index aligns with Corteva Agriscience’s commitment to growing progress. With global food security declining again, there is an urgent need to renew our collective commitment to innovation and collaboration to combat food insecurity.”

Surging inflation, and four-decade highs are attributed to the decrease in Corteva’s planned spending. Restructuring includes zeroing their focus on about 110 markets, to include just 20 core countries including the U.S., Brazil, India, and Western Europe. 

According to reports, non-core companies only make up about 5 percent of the company’s annual revenue. 

The GFSI was developed by Economist Impact, and is supported by Corteva Agriscience. The index presents an in-depth analysis into how the core pillars of affordability, availability, quality and safety, and sustainability and adaptation impact food security across the world. 

Staff work in the warehouse of the Lummi Nation Food Distribution Program in Washington state. (Image by USDA)

This year’s report includes metrics that link agricultural efforts, such as access to agricultural inputs and investment in R&D, to food security. The new metrics in the GFSI present a full picture of the food system, highlighting areas that have weakened over the years, including the quality and safety of food that fell by 4 percent between 2019 and 2022. The food system also remains very vulnerable to climate-related impacts, such as drought, flooding, and lack of adequate water for agriculture.

While metrics in the Index show agricultural inputs have had some of the biggest relative improvement in GFSI scores in the past few years, the lowest scoring indicators overall remained in agriculture, including a lack of public expenditure on agricultural R&D, irrigation infrastructure, and the quality of soil organic content.

Building greater resilience within the food system is of the utmost importance, Economist Impact notes in the global report. GFSI indicators reveal that countries are faced with skyrocketing food prices and hunger on an unprecedented scale. We are at a critical crossroads. To avert significant risks in the global food system, long-term structural investments need to be made. 

“Building long-term, systemic resilience should be a priority if the larger trend towards greater food insecurity worldwide is to be reversed” said Pratima Singh, Principal, Policy & Insights at Economist Impact. “This requires engagement and action by all players in the food system—governments, businesses, multilaterals, NGOs and consumers.”

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