Monheim / Puerto Vallarta -- From September 30th to October first, Bayer CropScience is hosting over 175 industry professionals from over 15 different countries at its Horticulture Symposium in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The symposium addresses issues of sustainability and innovation in modern horticulture and is designed to allow leaders in the field to network, share knowledge and expertise and exchange best practices.
Over 30 experts from across the world of horticulture are slated to deliver lectures and participate in panel discussions on a variety of topics, ranging from general industry subject matter like “Trends in fresh fruit and vegetable consumption” and “Reducing the gap between the farmer and the consumer” to location-specific crop topics, including sessions on banana root health and the sustainable production of tomatoes. The speakers range from market experts and researchers to growers, value chain and industry partners within the field of horticulture.
In recent years, expectations of consumers have increased. More than ever, they demand high-quality fruits and vegetables that are affordable, sustainably produced and available year-round. Bayer CropScience recognizes the strain this puts on producers and partners along the value chain and collaborates with them to help satisfy customer expectations. “Enhancing nutrition through healthy fruits and vegetables is one of our company’s key commitments, underlined by long-term investments into innovation in support of sustainable horticulture production,” said Mathias Kremer, Head of Strategy and Portfolio Management and Member of the Executive Committee at Bayer CropScience.
With horticulture comprising 25% of its business, the company is committed to remaining at the vanguard of sustainability and innovation in horticulture. To do so, the company recognizes the need to collaborate with global and local partners across the horticulture value chain in order to satisfy the growing demands of a market that is both global and local. “Bayer CropScience seeks to assist growers and partners across the food value chain with integrated crop solutions, including high value vegetable seeds, a broad portfolio of innovative biological and chemical crop protection products, complementing services and advice backed by proactive stewardship measures,” Kremer explained. “Bolstered by a team of 7,400 agronomical experts, Bayer CropScience is well-positioned and equipped with the local expertise necessary to help both growers and food industry partners meet consumer needs worldwide.”
One of Bayer CropScience’s costumers is Edgar Garcia, a production manager at SIESA, a family farming business and one of Guatemala’s leading vegetable exporters. “Our goal is to meet the increasing quality requirements in order to stay competitive in the global market. Bayer’s support is essential for us. For example, the partnership provides support in certification schemes, user-safety and technical training. Thus, we can achieve the best possible quality and keep up with the global market,” Garcia said.
Food Chain Partnerships – supporting growers’ needs beyond the farm
Beyond supporting growers on their fields to sustainably increase their productivity, Bayer CropScience connects them with the food value chain. This allows growers extended market access, guarantees traders consistent quality and pricing, and offers consumers a wider variety of affordably priced, high-quality fruits and vegetables.
In its Food Chain Partnership projects, Bayer CropScience brings together growers, processors, exporters and importers, and retailers. Around 70 Food Chain Managers in 30 countries support growers and industry partners in about 40 crops, primarily fruit and vegetables. In these projects, Bayer CropScience provides expertise in agricultural practices and offers customized integrated crop solutions with the common goal to sustainably produce high-quality and affordable food.
“The Food Chain Partnership allows us to collaborate with partners in ways that are truly sustainable. It is an excellent example of how we put our core principles into practice,” said Kremer.
“Innovative concepts like Food Chain Partnership help promote sustainable agriculture,” summarized Garcia. The Food Chain Partnership approach is in this way a prime example of incorporating forward-thinking sustainable practice into contemporary agriculture.
Digital approaches to further enhance productivity and sustainability
In line with its pledge to be a leader in forward-thinking agriculture, Bayer CropScience is also looking into the field of digitalization and automation. “From variety selection along the whole production process to the end consumer, digitalization and automation will be an increasing factor for productivity and sustainability in horticulture,” Kremer said.
The company is searching for new approaches to promote a healthy growth of horticulture plants and enable efficient and quality harvest. “One concrete field we are looking into is creating and selecting vegetable varieties that enable robot harvesting,” Kremer explained. “In addition, we are monitoring the development of crops, collect and analyze data to develop decision support tools and optimize yield and costs.”
The scale of global horticulture
There are more than 200 kinds of different horticulture crops. They are grown on about 240 million hectares of land worldwide. That is actually bigger than the combined size of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. In 2013, annual production of fruit & vegetables totaled 2.7 billion tons, whereof about two thirds were vegetable crops and one third were fruit crops. Of the 2.7 billion tons, 93 percent were consumed locally; roughly 7 percent (or 186 million tons) were exported.
About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Bayer CropScience, the subgroup of Bayer AG responsible for the agricultural business, has annual sales of EUR 9,494 million (2014) and is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company offers an outstanding range of products including high value seeds, innovative crop protection solutions based on chemical and biological modes of action as well as an extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture. In the area of non-agricultural applications, Bayer CropScience has a broad portfolio of products and services to control pests from home and garden to forestry applications. The company has a global workforce of 23,100 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available at: www.press.bayercropscience.com.