Volatile commodity prices are spurring Archer Daniels Midland Co. to diversify its sources of food and processing, Chief Executive Officer Patricia Woertz said.
“It’s important to fill out our global footprint” by growing in Africa, South Asia and other regions where more food is needed to meet population growth, Woertz said Wednesday in an interview at the World Food Prize conference in Des Moines, Iowa. “Volatility is here to stay,” said Woertz, the head of the Decatur, Illinois-based company since 2006.
Corn, the biggest U.S. crop, fell to $5.7225 a bushel last week from a record $7.9975 in June as adverse weather and swings in the global economy changed forecasts for supply and demand. Wheat has ranged from $5.92 a bushel to $9.1675 this year, and soybeans have traded from $11.52 to $14.65.
Cargill Inc., the grain distributor that is the largest closely held company in the U.S., said on Oct. 10 that fiscal first-quarter profit from continuing operations fell 66 percent because of volatility in commodity markets.
The World Food Prize conference is held annually to honor individuals “who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food.” It also fosters discussion among agribusinesses, governments and nonprofit organizations on how best to feed a global population expected to top 9 billion by 2050, up from almost 7 billion this year.
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