NEW DELHI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Monsanto today announced the launch of Project SHARE (Sustainable
Harvest - Agriculture, Resources, Environment)
– a sustainable yield
initiative to improve farmer lives in India, as part of its global
three-point commitment to help increase global food production in the
face of growing demand, limited natural resources and a changing
climate. It has pledged to work in new partnerships with other
businesses, citizen groups and Governments to meet one of the greatest
challenges of the 21st century.

Project SHARE, a pilot project in association with NGO
ISAP (Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals), aims to
improve the socio-economic conditions of 10,000 small-marginal cotton
and corn farmers in 1100 villages across three States within four years
by increasing their crop productivity. Farming will be sustainable
through access to higher-yielding seeds and agriculture inputs; training
and education on best agronomic practices; formation of farmer groups to
enable collective bargaining power; increased exposure to Krishi
Vigyan Kendras
, State Agriculture Universities, and modern
technology demonstration units; creation of self-help groups (SHGs) for
beneficiary household women; and better market linkages.

Experts say the global population will touch nine billion and demand for
food is expected to double by 2050. It will be necessary to produce as
much food between now and 2050 as was produced in the last 10,000 years.
The Govt. of India estimates that India’s population will touch 1.3
billion by 2017 and that we may be short of 14 million MT of food grains.

Concern over climate change has also increased. The eight warmest years
on record have all occurred in the last decade. As agriculture uses 70
per cent of the world’s fresh water and more than half of the habitable
land, much of the production increase must come from increased crop
yields. According to the UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO),
nearly 60 per cent of the world’s hungry are resource-poor farmers;
another 20 per cent are landless and rely exclusively on agriculture for
their livelihood; and the World Bank estimates that approx. 900 million
rural people live on less than $1 a day.

“Agriculture intersects the toughest challenges we face on the
planet,
said Jerry Steiner, Executive Vice President, Monsanto
Company. “We must meet the needs for increased food, fiber and energy
while protecting the environment. The quality of life of the world’s one
billion farmers is a critical part of the equation. As an agricultural
company focused on increasing crop yields and the world’s largest
investor in agriculture research, we will produce more, conserve more,
and improve farmer lives. Project SHARE is part of our commitment in
India.”

Monsanto’s worldwide three-point commitment to growing yields
sustainably includes:

1. Develop better seeds – Monsanto will double yield in its three
core crops of corn, soybeans and cotton by 2030, compared to a base year
of 2000 in countries where farmers have access to current and
anticipated new seed choices offered by the company. The Company will
also establish a $10 million grant administered by a panel of world
experts to accelerate breakthrough public sector research in wheat and
rice yield. Further details on this program will be announced in the
coming months.

2. Conserve resources – Develop seeds that will reduce by
one-third the amount of key resources like land, energy, fertilizer and
water required to grow crops by the year 2030. The Company will also
undertake a series of partnerships to address key environmental issues.

3. Help improve farmers’ lives – The Company will help improve
the lives of farmers, including an additional five million people in
resource-poor farm families by 2020. In India, for example, the use of
Bollgard insect-protected cotton has increased yields by more than 50
per cent and farmer incomes by Rs. 9,705 (US$ 249) per acre, according
to third-party studies.

Among other global partnerships, Monsanto will also work with public
institutions to develop products for non-commercial crops, including
cassava, cowpea and papaya that are important in some world areas.

“Project SHARE will make farming sustainable and improve the lives of
10,000 cotton and corn farmers in 1100 villages across three states.
Monsanto has been partnering with India’s farmers for over four decades
and we will continue our commitment to improve crop productivity and
helping make India a global leader in agriculture,” said
Sekhar
Natarajan, India Region Lead, Monsanto
. “We believe it will take
the power of partnerships by a diverse group of organizations with many
points of view to work together and take action to address the daunting
challenges facing us all.”

“Project SHARE is a joint effort by Monsanto and ISAP to demonstrate
a sustainable model to impact the lives of 10,000 farmers across three
states. The model shall provide small and marginal farmers access to
technology, better inputs, agronomic practices, and market linkages to
improve farm productivity, thereby making farming a viable proposition.”
said
Rajiv Dar, CEO, NGO ISAP (Indian Society of Agribusiness
Professionals).

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based
solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and
food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and
large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving
more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. To learn
more about our commitments, please visit www.producemoreconservemore.com.

Monsanto Company

Monsanto is a leading agriculture company that is focused on enhancing
farm productivity by high-yielding seeds and traits, and agricultural
productivity. We apply innovation and technology to help farmers around
the world produce more, conserve more and grow yield sustainably so they
can be successful, produce healthier foods, better animal feeds and more
fiber, while also reducing agriculture's impact on our environment.

Monsanto invests more than US$2.6 million a day on R&D in breeding and
biotechnology to discover and deliver innovative, high-yielding
technologies that help farmers increase ag productivity and succeed,
making it the world’s largest investor in agricultural research in the
area of seeds and traits.

Monsanto has been partnering with India and its farmers for over four
decades, and is focused on the following core businesses of cotton,
corn, fruit and vegetable seeds, and Roundup herbicide. We are committed
to enable the Indian farmer to produce more, conserve more, and improve
their lives, and be a part of India’s growth. In India, the company has
contributed Rs. 17+ crores since 2001 to community development
initiatives in the areas of human rights, sustainable agriculture,
education, healthcare, and disaster rehabilitation.

Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals (ISAP)

ISAP is a major network of agriculture and allied sector professionals
in India. In pursuance of its vision, of instilling economic security
and stability among farming community, particularly small and marginal
farmers through holistic development of agriculture and rural sector,
ISAP has acquired rich experience of working with farmers over the
years. ISAP has successfully carried out several assignments in the area
of agriculture, rural and social development, market linkages, capacity
building and extension services.