Nestlé announced the official inauguration of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences to help advance sustainable food systems by delivering science-based solutions in agriculture, the company has said.
“We have nurtured direct relationships with generations of farmers around the world. To continue providing people with tasty, nutritious and affordable foods, we need to transition together to a more sustainable food system,” said Paul Bulcke, Chairman of Nestlé. “The new institute will strengthen our expertise and use our global network to support farming communities and protect our planet.”
At the new institute, the company experts screen and develop solutions in key focus areas such as plant science, agricultural systems and dairy livestock. It will also build on the company’s existing plant science expertise in coffee and cocoa.
Over several years, Nestlé plant scientists have been contributing to Nestlé’s sustainable cocoa and coffee sourcing plans such as the Nestlé Cocoa Plan which targets areas such as increasing farmer incomes, improving access to education and safeguarding forests in cocoa-farming communities, as well as the Nescafé Plan, which includes the recent discovery of more disease and drought resistant coffee varieties.
The company is strengthening this expertise and expanding it to further crops, it said, which include pulses and grains, and is working with farmers to trial regenerative agriculture practices to improve soil health and encourage biodiversity.
“Our goal is to identify the most promising solutions to promote the production of nutritious raw materials while minimizing their environmental impact. We take a holistic approach and look at several factors including impact on yield, carbon footprint, food safety and cost, as well as the viability of scale-up,” explained Jeroen Dijkman, Head of Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences.
Speaking at the official opening, Valérie Dittli, State Councilor of the Swiss Canton of Vaud, said: “The new institute is strengthening the Canton of Vaud as a center of excellence for research and education in agriculture and nutrition. It also contributes to the efforts that are underway to support farmers in the face of climate change. Agriculture is at the core of quality nutrition and in the Canton of Vaud we can count on an innovative ecosystem that brings together partners including agricultural professionals, schools for higher education and private research centers such as the one from Nestlé.”
In addition to new facilities at Nestlé Research in Switzerland, the institute also incorporates an existing plant science research unit in France and farms based in Ecuador, Côte d’Ivoire and Thailand, as well as partnerships with research farms.
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