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Demand for innovative solutions for Sustainable Agriculture drives Bayer CropScienceqrcode

Sep. 18, 2014

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Sep. 18, 2014

Demand for innovative solutions for Sustainable Agriculture drives Bayer CropScience

Bayer CropScience is optimistic about the development perspectives of the agricultural markets and commits to invest significantly to deliver new solutions for sustainable agriculture. “We are convinced of the long-term growth potential of the agricultural markets despite increasing volatility,” said Bayer CropScience CEO Liam Condon at the company’s annual press conference in Monheim, Germany. “We expect the worldwide market for agricultural inputs of crop protection products, seeds and traits to grow to around €100 billion by 2020, up from €50 billion in 2008”, Condon forecasts. Intensification and professionalization of agriculture are among the key drivers for mid- to longterm market development, Condon explained, citing a growing need for sustainable farming solutions. “As Bayer CropScience, we see our role as a key contributor to enable sustainable growth of the farming sector that benefits both growers and society alike,” Condon said. 
€2.4 billion capital expenditure program (2013 – 2016) underway
“In light of the strong demand for our products we are expanding our facilities and our investments in research and development (R&D),” continued the Bayer CropScience CEO. The company has embarked on an investment program in 2013 that will see capital expenditures of €2.4 billion through 2016: Out of this, €1.3 billion will be spent in Europe, with €800 million being planned for Germany alone. Between 2013 and 2016 Bayer CropScience is also planning capital expenditures of some €700 million in North America and approximately €400 million in Latin America and Asia Pacific. The largest individual investments are planned for the Dormagen, Frankfurt and Knapsack sites in Germany, as well as Mobile and Kansas City in the US.
Annual R&D expenses of around €1 billion 
Farmers’ demand for the company’s innovative line of products including chemical and biological crop protection products as well as as high-yielding seeds is driving Bayer CropScience to invest further into its R&D capabilities. Over the next few years, Bayer CropScience will invest around €1 billion in R&D annually, helping to fuel the company’s well-filled product pipeline. 
Condon stressed the need for agricultural innovation: “Farmers constantly experience new challenges – threats to food security worldwide. Examples here are the devastating citrus greening in orange plantations in the US, dramatically reducing orange supplies, worsening soil salinity in some rice growing areas in South Asia or the growing global productivity gap in wheat.” Condon highlighted efforts at Bayer CropScience to help save orange trees through an integrated approach controlling the citrus greening vector and other harmful pests through novel chemical and biological solutions. Bayer CropScience is also looking to market a rice variety that is twice as tolerant to salinity as currently available varieties, which is scheduled for market launch in India in 2016, followed by Bangladesh and Vietnam.
Another focus is the research and development of improved wheat varieties. Bayer CropScience is already market leader in crop protection products for the world’s most important crop, and started to build up a wheat seeds business in 2010 by entering into a collaboration with the leading Australian research institute CSIRO. “We have mapped out a comprehensive 10 year plan to invest €1.5 billion in the research and development of new solutions for wheat through 2020 – encompassing both seeds and crop protection products,” said Condon. “Seven wheat breeding stations across the crop’s main growing areas around the world are now operating, and the first seeds are to be sold next year in Eastern Europe. Hybrid seed varieties with improved yield are expected after 2020 – an example for the long-term nature of our business,” said Condon.
Societal dialogue - a precondition for successful agricultural innovation 
A precondition for agricultural innovation to be successful, is a greater level of transparency on what benefits new solutions bring for society. Bayer CropScience is thus planning to intensify public dialogue about the need for and the benefits of science and innovation in agriculture. “Sustainable agriculture today delivers a level of food safety and security that is unmatched in the history of mankind. Many people take abundant food for granted,” said Condon. “But the system is fragile, it needs constant innovation and society’s support to ensure that the world has enough to eat.” Therefore the company wants to strengthen and expand the dialogue with the public about modern agriculture, its opportunities and its challenges. One example is the new online platform “Farming’s Future Dialogues” (FarmingsFutureDialogues.com), providing a forum for discussions on agricultural topics. With its new “Bayer Forward Farming” model farms, the company also offers the opportunity for deep insights into best-practice sustainable agricultural solutions. 
Condon stressed that helping feed what will be more than 9 billion on this planet in 2050 is one of the world’s biggest challenges. “To help secure the future of food, we want to engage the leaders of the future”, Condon said. He explained: “That is why we want to inspire young people to learn about food and farming with an Agricultural Education Program.” 
The program consists of several projects, including visiting programs to Bayer CropScience facilities to gain first hand impressions on what modern sustainable agriculture looks like in practice. The company also offers scholarship opportunities designed to support students with pioneering ideas in agriculture, and organizes international exchange formats for young leaders interested in sharing ideas and having an open dialogue about agriculture.


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