United States Patent and Trademark Office Recognizes Humanitarian Achievements of the Africa Biofortified Sorghum Initiative
JOHNSTON, Iowa, April 15, 2013 – DuPont has been honored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), an agency of the Department of Commerce, for its research efforts to improve nutrition, production and availability of sorghum, a staple crop in Africa. The USPTO Patents for Humanity is an awards competition to recognize patented technologies that address humanitarian needs.
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USPTO Patents for Humanity Award
Image courtesy of USPTO.
DuPont Scientist Marc Albertsen, ABS Research Lead
Award presented by Teresa Stanek Rea, Acting Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director, USPTO
“This award recognizes the importance of collaboration across the public and private sectors to bring real solutions to the people and places that need it most,” said Paul E. Schickler, president, DuPont Pioneer. “Science must be at the heart of solutions to feeding a growing population.”
In Africa, each year up to half a million children become blind from vitamin A deficiencies and nearly 600,000 women die from childbirth-related causes, many from complications that could be reduced through better provision of vitamin A, iron or zinc. Nearly 300 million people in Africa depend on sorghum as a staple crop, but do not have access to another staple that provides the essential nutrients that sorghum lacks.
“I congratulate DuPont for their efforts to improve the nutritional quality of sorghum,” said U.S. Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Debbie Stabenow (Michigan). “This is a sterling example of how American innovation and modern agricultural technologies help feed a growing world population.”
DuPont established collaborations with a number of organizations, including Africa Harvest Foundation International, the primary coordinating organization for the Africa Biofortified Sorghum (ABS) initiative, to increase the amount and stability of pro-vitamin A, iron and zinc, and improve protein digestibility of sorghum. In the next several years, the ABS initiative is expected to benefit millions of Africans that rely upon sorghum, which traditionally is deficient in key nutrients.
DuPont scientist and lead researcher for the initiative, Marc Albertsen, was presented with the ‘Patents for Humanity’ award at a ceremony held last week in Washington, D.C. The program advances U.S. President Barack Obama’s global development agenda by rewarding companies who bring life-saving technologies to underserved people of the world, while showing how patents are an integral part of tackling the world's challenges. DuPont donated the original technology and has contributed technical and capacity building support to this humanitarian effort.
“From Norman Borlaug to today, Iowan innovations in science and agriculture continue to help feed the world,” added U.S. Congressman Tom Latham (Iowa). “I commend DuPont Pioneer on this tremendous breakthrough that will go to great lengths to improving food security in Africa.”
“Patents and intellectual property rights are fundamental because they encourage continued science-based innovation and allow for investment in future research,” said Schickler.
DuPont Pioneer is the world's leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics, providing high-quality seeds to farmers in more than 90 countries. Pioneer provides agronomic support and services to help increase farmer productivity and profitability and strives to develop sustainable agricultural systems for people everywhere. Science with Service Delivering Success™.
DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders, we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit www.dupont.com.
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