DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Howard G. Buffett Foundation today announced a collaboration with John Deere and DuPont Pioneer to develop products to support a conservation-based system of agriculture designed and targeted to sustainably improve the productivity of smallholder farmers in Africa. The effort will be piloted in Ghana and include a conservation-based, mechanized product suite developed by John Deere; a system of cover crops and improved inputs from DuPont Pioneer; and support for adoption and training on conservation-based practices by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131017/NY98389LOGO) The partnership was inspired by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation's nearly fifteen-year history of research in conservation agriculture on its research farms in South Africa and the U.S., and its longstanding efforts at promoting adoption of conservation agriculture in Ghana, as detailed in Howard G. Buffett's new book 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World. The partners hope to develop a vibrant market for small-scale, conservation-based cropping systems and affordable equipment for smallholder farmers, first in Ghana and then across the continent of Africa. "The long-term food security of Africa depends upon rebuilding its degraded soils, which can best be achieved through the widespread adoption of conservation agriculture practices," said Howard G. Buffett, Chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. "This requires a focus on smallholder farmers and a system of training, equipment, and inputs to improve the land they farm even as they improve their production. We are proud to be working in partnership with John Deere and DuPont Pioneer to make that system a reality." Each of the partners brings unique assets to the collaboration. DuPont Pioneer is identifying locally-adapted and tested maize seed to increase productivity and cover crops such as cowpeas to prevent soil erosion and to improve soil health. John Deere is developing no-till equipment to test and modify for smallholder farmers in Africa. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, in cooperation with the Government of Ghana, is securing test plots for demonstrating the conservation-based cropping systems and equipment, and has funded a new academic center near Kumasi that will serve as the focal point of the collaboration. As the Ghana pilot evolves, the initiative hopes to expand its efforts throughout Africa in the future. "Collaborating with global partners to develop local products and production methods is important to increase food production sustainably and effectively," said Paul Schickler, president of DuPont Pioneer. "Seed is only one part of the equation and that's why we are working with organizations like the Buffett Foundation and John Deere to bring holistic solutions to the table for Africa's smallholder farmers." "Our effort in Ghana with the Buffett Foundation and DuPont Pioneer is one of several important initiatives John Deere is supporting to impact the success of smallholder farmers on the African continent and around the world," said Ganesh Jayaram, John Deere's vice president of agriculture and turf equipment sales in the region. "This initiative provides an opportunity to help farmers move to early stages of mechanization with the goal of improving productivity, which could help Africa feed its own population and provide food for other markets." About the Howard G. Buffett FoundationThe Howard G. Buffett Foundation works to improve the quality of life for the world's most impoverished and marginalized populations – including the nearly one billion men, women, and children who lack basic food security. 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World chronicles Chairman and CEO Howard G. Buffett's evolving views on combating hunger and poverty. For more information, visit www.thehowardgbuffettfoundation.org and www.40Chances.com. About Deere & CompanyDeere & Company (NYSE: DE) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services and is committed to the success of customers whose work is linked to the land — those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world's dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter and infrastructure. For more information, visit John Deere at www.JohnDeere.com. About DuPont PioneerDuPont 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.