During International Green Week 2012 in Berlin, Germany, Joachim Schneider, Ph.D., senior vice president growth and strategy for Bayer CropScience, affirmed the company’s commitment to addressing the challenges posed by population growth, the growing demand for food, feed and renewable raw materials, limited natural resources and climate change.
At high-level business panels at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) and the AGCO Africa Summit held this week in Berlin as part of International Green Week, Schneider outlined three critical areas where Bayer CropScience is advancing initiatives to drive impact, including:
- Supporting farmers to increase the agricultural productivity of the world’s most important staple crops - wheat and rice
- Closing the gap for small-scale farmers in Africa and beyond through introduction of sustainable modern technologies
- Accelerating the phase-out of all remaining WHO Class I insecticide formulations by the end of 2012, as announced in September 2011
"As a leading company in the agricultural industry, Bayer CropScience is strongly committed to sustainable agriculture," said Schneider. "Sustainable agriculture is the only way forward to overcome challenges posed by population growth, the growing demand for food, feed and renewable raw materials, limited natural resources and climate change."
Supporting Farmers to Increase Agricultural Production
Bayer CropScience is striving to support farmers to increase agricultural productivity in wheat and rice, two of the world’s most important staple crops, by developing and marketing customer-centric solutions.
"Our entire organization is focused to propel the future of agriculture through sustainable solutions based on seeds, traits and crop protection products," commented Schneider. "We are uniquely positioned to connect the dots working together with everyone along the entire food value chain from seed to shelf."
Bayer CropScience is planning to raise its research and development budget some 20 percent to more than 850 million Euros by 2015 (2010: EUR 722 million).
"We must continue to commit to innovation to safeguard food security and to address poverty reduction," he said.
However, appropriate regulatory and political frameworks are necessary to increase world agricultural production sustainably. "As a company we depend on predictable and reliable business conditions. Good governance, sound and stable economic and political institutions and the rule of law are essential to create a favorable business environment attracting long term investment and allowing for sustainable growth," Schneider said.
Closing the Gap in Africa and Beyond through Modern Technologies
Schneider emphasized the urgent need for a sustainable introduction of modern technologies and local adaptation of tailored solutions with focus on small-scale farmers in Africa. Schneider said that the lack of access to production factors like land, fertilizers, high-quality seeds, innovative crop protection solutions, feed and farming tools negatively affects agricultural production.
"Closing this gap will allow African farmers to boost productivity. Rural development is the right way to food security, economic growth and social welfare of African countries," Schneider added, pointing out that projects and initiatives need to be complementary rather than competitive to address the nexus of food, water, energy and soil.
Bayer’s engagement in Africa dates back to the early 1920s. Today, Bayer is present in 25 African countries, and has helped spearhead an important public private partnership (PPP) project. Since 2006, Bayer CropScience has been supporting small-scale farmers in Kenya, helping them reach demanding quality and food-safety standards. The "Green World" project - one of roughly 240 food chain partnership projects Bayer has initiated worldwide - is based on the concept of providing local traders with intensive training by experts from Bayer CropScience.
Accelerating WHO Class I Insecticide Formulation Phase Out
Crop protection innovations are an important prerequisite for the sustainable development of agriculture. Bayer CropScience’s product portfolio is constantly being rejuvenated through the company’s research and development efforts so that it meets the needs of customers and fulfills the requirements imposed by changing cultivation and market conditions. As part of its ongoing portfolio optimization efforts, the company is accelerating the phase-out of all remaining WHO Class I insecticide formulations by the end of 2012.