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Chemical giant DuPont (DD - Analyst Report) has received the “Patents for Humanity” award from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for its research efforts to improve nutrition, production and availability of sorghum, the staple crop of Africa.

The program rewards companies who bring life-saving technologies to underserved people of the world while bringing out the importance of patents and showing how they form an integral part of tackling the world's challenges.

The award follows a competition to recognize patented technologies that address humanitarian needs. The award also brings out the importance of collaboration across the public and private sectors to bring solutions to the people and places that need it most.

Roughly 500,000 children become blind from Vitamin A deficiency and nearly 600,000 women die from child-birth related causes in Africa every year. About 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.

To address this, DuPont has partnered with 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. The ABS initiative is expected to be extended in the next few years to the Africans who rely upon Sorghum, which is deficient in key nutrients.

Last month, DuPont was recognized among the world's top 50 most admired companies by the Fortune magazine. DuPont was ranked No. 41 in Fortune's Top 50 "World's Most Admired Companies" list. DuPont has been featured in the list for the last 4 years and it is for the second consecutive year that it has been recognized on the list in its sector.

DuPont is a global chemical and life sciences company and is witnessing significant momentum in its agriculture business, boosted by higher volume and market share gains in seed genetics and crop protection. It expects continued strong growth in crop protection in 2013, driven by new products.

DuPont currently holds a short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other companies in the chemical industry that are worth considering include Eastman Chemical Company (EMN - Analyst Report), LyondellBasell Industries NV (LYB - Analyst Report) and Compass Minerals International Inc. (CMP - Snapshot Report). All of them retain a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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