DuPont recently unveiled a newly expanded research facility in South Africa that will serve as the core of the DuPont Africa regional technology center.
"Agriculture has a vital role to play in the social and economic security of African countries," said Ellen Kullman, DuPont chief executive officer. "We are harnessing DuPont's global science capabilities and resources to create local solutions that will improve productivity for farmers in South Africa and throughout the continent."
The center, based in the South Africa town of Delmas, will serve as the central hub of the regional technology center, which is comprised of a network of existing DuPont Pioneer and Pannar research facilities throughout Africa.
"We believe this technology center will be a catalyst for innovation and collaboration to help feed a growing population in Africa and around the world," Kullman said.
The facility will also house Africa's first private insectary, which will raise and house insects that pose challenges to local crop protection, the firm said.
"Having a local insectary is critical to the development of traits and solutions to combat yield-robbing pests," Paul E. Schickler, president of DuPont Pioneer said. "We are proud to build this type of cutting-edge insect research facility for the benefit of Africa's farmers."
DuPont began investing in the regional technology center after acquiring Pannar Seed, based in South Africa, in 2013, the firm said.
The center will help drive the seed research and development pipelines for DuPont Pioneer and Pannar brands, capitalizing on complementary germplasm pools and developing innovative solutions for customers of both brands, DuPont said.
The facility will also employ leading R&D technologies and genetic breeding technologies including so-called marker-assisted seed selection, to help shorten crop breeding cycles and improve accuracy toward breeding targets, the firm said. Similar DuPont technology centers are operating in Brazil, India and China, as part of the DuPont's global research network.