"Our goal is to help transform farmers into ‘agripreneurs’ who run profitable and sustainable businesses,” said Bayer CropScience CEO Liam Condon in his keynote address at the World Agricultural Forum in Hyderabad today. At the 4-day conference, which attracted around 500 attendees from India and abroad, experts from across the agricultural industry convened to discuss ways to shape a sustainable future of farming.

Smallholders, who account for 50 percent of the world’s food production, take a key role in the challenge of feeding around 10 billion people by 2050. “The world over, small farms are the backbone of food supply,” explained Condon. He noted that the overall yields of small farms today remain well below potential due to the lack of appropriate seeds, inputs, machinery, know-how, financing, infrastructure and trading networks. While Bayer CropScience is fully committed to leveraging its expertise in seeds and crop protection to support farmers around the world, Condon stressed that one company’s efforts alone are not enough to meet the challenge. “We need to acknowledge and embrace the interconnections and complexities of our food systems and include all stakeholders in finding sustainable solutions,” Condon said.

Earlier this year, Bayer CropScience had announced a five-point plan to bring about a “New Revolution in Agriculture”, encompassing strategic innovation investments, the long-term empowerment of farmers, a sustainable productivity increase, enhanced nutrition and improved partnerships. At the World Agricultural Forum, Condon now highlighted a number of targeted local initiatives as well as global partnerships to underline each of the company’s commitments.

Supporting smallholder farmers in India

In India, Bayer CropScience has teamed up with retail companies, technology providers and research institutes, with promising results to date:

• Global processor PepsiCo and Bayer CropScience are extending their Food Chain Partnership agreement in potatoes for another five years. So far, over 12,000 farmers have taken part in this successful partnership, and have benefited from quality improvements, higher farm incomes and trainings on good agricultural practices.

• In the field of research, Bayer CropScience has a long-standing collaboration in millet with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), a member of the Consultative Group of Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Bayer CropScience is an important partner of ICRISAT in a project to develop millet varieties with higher iron content to improve nutrition in rural areas.

• With technology partner Jain Irrigation, Bayer CropScience provides onion and mango farmers with training and technology for modern drip irrigation and chemigation techniques that save water and promote the sustainable use of crop protection products.

“We firmly believe that cross-sectoral partnerships boost our own contributions to the benefit of all,” Condon said. With 30 Food Chain Partnership projects in India, 240 worldwide and a series of research and technology collaborations with both public and private partners around the world, Bayer CropScience is helping to drive the sustainable transformation of farming already today. The company is determined to further expand this commitment in future, with new integrated crop solutions and additional partnerships across the food value chain.

Read more about Bayer CropScience’s commitment to smallholder farmers in the new edition of the company’s magazine Farming’s Future, with a lead story on “Small Farms – Big Impact” at: www.farmingsfuture.bayer.com.