Joined by farming stakeholders, academia, NGOs and industry experts from around the globe, Bayer outlined its vision for the future of agriculture.
“Farmers are hungry for innovation that will help them grow more with less and help ensure adequate access to safe, nutritious and affordable food now and in the future,” said Liam Condon, a member of the Bayer Board of Management and President of the Crop Science Division, during his presentation at the Future of Farming Dialogue 2018.
The company’s first major event since coming together on August 21st, the Future of Farming Dialogue brings together thought leaders and stakeholders from all various angles of society to discuss ways to make the world’s food system more sustainable for the benefit of farmers, consumers and the planet.
“Our world faces enormous challenges including a changing climate, limited natural resources and a growing population,” said Condon. “We believe agriculture is a crucial part of the solution and we have a highly talented global team working responsibly together and collaborating with partners to find better solutions to these challenges.”
Condon noted that digital transformation is one of the driving forces of innovation, giving farmers completely new ways to look at their fields and providing them with data and insights to make smarter decisions. “Digital tools have shaped many industries and we are just scratching the surface on what it means for agriculture. Through the power of new digital tools and data analytics we can help increase farmer productivity and sustainability.”
Climate’s digital platform is one example of the type of innovation Bayer aims to deliver to farmers. “We now have thousands of employees dedicated to research and development around the world with market-leading expertise in breeding, biology, chemistry and data science,” said Bob Reiter, the new Head of Research & Development for the Crop Science Division. “I know their combined creativity, collaborative spirit and passion for discovery will help drive tailored solutions for farmers while also driving our business. Breakthrough innovation always happens at the intersection of various scientific disciplines.”
Launching in 2019, vayego, a foliar and soil-applied insecticide for the use in rice, corn and horticulture crops is an innovation in crop protection offering farmers a broad and multifaceted range of benefits for controlling destructive caterpillars as well as some beetles and sucking pests.
Upcoming launches include multiple varieties of seeds developed to deflect pests and work with crop protection tools to make each acre optimally productive. These innovations include second-generation insect-protected soybeans (a next generation of Intacta RR2 PRO) and a Lygus and thrips control cotton. The vegetable seeds R&D team also provides more than 200 new variety introductions across 20 crops to improve produce choices for global farmers and the consumers they serve each year.
However, technological innovation alone will not be enough to help the world meet the future challenges in agriculture. “In order to contribute significantly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we need to ensure that our focus on innovation is not only concerned with technological innovation, but also with social innovation that is inclusive and promotes truly sustainable and holistic growth for local communities,” said Jesus Madrazo, the new Head of Agricultural Affairs and Sustainability for the Crop Science Division. “So when I think of sustainability, it’s really about how we can for example help both smallholder farmers in Africa as well as large soybean growers in the U.S. or Brazil, help them protect the health and vitality of their land so that they can pass it on to the next generation in better shape than when they took it over,” Madrazo pointed out.
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