Bayer CropScience is committed to help raise the agricultural productivity in Africa, and plans to extend its operational footprint in the continent, said Christian Asboth, senior vice president for Africa, Middle East and CIS, at the 2nd AGCO Africa Summit in Berlin, Germany.

During a high-level business panel on "Making Business Work and Fit for Africa", Asboth emphasized the urgent need for a sustainable introduction of modern technologies, with a strong focus on smallholder farmers in Africa to boost productivity.

"Over the last years we have seen a strong development of agriculture in Africa, but the challenges of the next decades can only be solved if smallholder farmers are empowered to sustainably pilot their own success," he said, noting that the lack of access to production inputs such as fertilizers, high-quality seeds, innovative crop protection solutions, machinery and other important farming tools negatively affects agricultural production.

Bayer CropScience´s offerings well adapted to the needs of African farmers

Tailored offerings provided by Bayer CropScience are well adapted to the needs of African farmers. These include integrated crop solutions based on improved seed varieties and modern crop protection technologies as well as product stewardship programs and training in good agricultural practices.

"We have excellent seed technology in several crops, such as in vegetables, cotton and hybrid rice," Asboth added. Within the next years, Bayer CropScience plans to establish legal entities in eight additional African countries and to increase its work force. Public-Private-Partnerships key for rural development and prosperity

In order to improve agricultural productivity, a close cooperation between the different stakeholders - including local governments, farmer´s associations and cooperatives, NGOs, the agricultural input industry and the banking and insurance sector - is absolutely necessary, Asboth noted.

"At Bayer CropScience, we hope to increase agricultural productivity by partnerships along the entire food value chain from seed to shelf," Asboth commented.

Bayer CropScience is already involved in projects to set up and improve farmer proximity shops, provide farmers with agronomical and product stewardship training, as well as connect smallholder and industrial farmers to provide access to more advanced farming equipment. Asboth said: "We aim to help smallholder farmers in East and West Africa to raise their productivity to improve their livelihood. This is how we aim to help reduce hunger and poverty and how we can contribute to agricultural development in Africa."

The AGCO Africa Summit is a joint initiative of AGCO, Bayer CropScience, DEG - Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, and Rabobank. Guest speakers included Prof. Dr. Horst Köhler (former Federal President of Germany), John Agyekum Kufuor (former President of the Republic of Ghana), and Olusegun Obasanjo (former President of Nigeria).