The European Court of Justice dismissed an appeal by Bayer to overturn a partial ban on three insecticides linked to harming bees. The ruling covers three active substances – imidacloprid developed by Bayer CropScience, clothianidin developed by Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer CropScience, as well as Syngenta’s thiamethoxam.
A Bayer spokesperson said the firm was disappointed by the verdict and stood by the safety of the products, which continue to be used in other regions with appropriate risk mitigation measures applied.
The EU’s highest court ordered Bayer to bear its own costs plus those of other parties.
During Fruit Logistica 2020, Reybanpac received recognition from Bayer Ecuador for the implementation of good agricultural practices in the banana sector. In recent years, Reybanpac has been incorporating biofungicides into its production processes as part of its environmental care commitment. Biofungicides are an alternative form of phytosanitary control that can reduce chemical use in preventing diseases such as sigatoka.
Reybanpac is a pioneer in the banana industry in applying this type of product for the sustainable management of pests and diseases. “We are honoured by this recognition, which motivates us to continue constantly and proactively developing. We believe in the application of new techniques that contribute to our objectives of productivity and socio-environmental responsibility. As a company, we adapt to changes and are prepared to move forward with the new market trends,” said CEO Vicente Wong.
The Bayer Exhibitor Forum focused on responsible food production and the main challenges facing the fresh produce sector along the path to a more sustainable future.
During the recent Bayer Exhibitor Forum, held at Fruit Logistica, Berlin, Frank Terhorst, head of crop strategy and portfolio manager at Bayer Crop Science, stated that innovation and digitalisation are the company´s key pillars for sustainable production. Bayer’s mission is to deliver world-class innovation as a pioneer in digital transformation and setting new standards of sustainability through tailored solutions. Among the firm’s sustainability commitments, the most outstanding ones are: reducing field greenhouse gas emissions by 30%, decreasing the environmental impact of crop protection by 30%, and empowering smallholder farmers to access sustainable agricultural solutions. With a firm commitment to the fresh produce sector, Bayer is dedicated to developing innovative solutions for horticulture production, driving digitally enabled tailored solutions for farms, and further enhancing food chain activities beyond the farm. “The Food Chain Partnership business model provides sustainable crop solutions to growers worldwide,” said Terhorst.
An eye on the future
One of the biggest challenges on the global scale is the constantly growing demand for food due to the increasing population, which places a huge pressure on the planetary ecosystem. Hunger, malnutrition, obesity and diabetes are also playing important roles. As a potential solution, Ernst van den Ende, managing director of the Plant Sciences Group at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, proposes a second “green revolution”, which brings new diets supported by healthy lifestyle principles, along with environmental care, good agricultural practices, and nutritional crops, but also with more severe parameters for food safety and ecology.
Nowadays, farm fields are one of the biggest contributors of CO2, after the coal and gas industries. That is why Dutch science journalist Hidde Boersma thinks it is necessary to use less surface area for agricultural purposes while producing more. “We should return land to nature,” said Boersma, who argues for a form of ecomodernism based on the belief that intensive agriculture, large-scale urbanisation, and investments in high-tech clean energy are the best ways to become a prosperous green planet.
Following an in-depth investigation, the European Commission approved on Wednesday 21st March the proposed €56 billion buyout of US agri-giant Monsanto by German chemical firm Bayer, after securing concessions from Bayer. The deal will create the world’s largest integrated pesticides and seeds company and has raised concern among activists. “We have approved Bayer’s plans to take over Monsanto because the parties’ remedies, worth well over €6 billion euros, meet our competition concerns in full,” said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief.
Brussels made the decision despite opposition by environmentalists who fear that the deal gives too much power to the world’s leading manufacturers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the controversial weedkiller glyphosate. EFA food safety spokesperson Bart Staes said, “This merger is bad news for farmers, our environment and food security. The agriculture industry is already far too concentrated, giving a handful of massive firms a stranglehold on food production. Merging two of the biggest players only makes a bad situation worse.”
The takeover, which had already been approved by Chinese authorities, still awaits approval by US regulators, who have also expressed concerns. Among the concessions obtained from Bayer is the sale in October of parts of Bayer’s agrochemical business to German rival BASF. The deal will see Bayer sell the majority of its crop seeds units and its glyphosate herbicide business to BASF for €5.9 billion. BASF also committed to buying Bayer’s vegetable seed business.
Bayer and Trendlines, an Israeli innovation commercialisation company, have announced a partnership to invest in agricultural technology by establishing the Bayer Trendlines Ag Innovation Fund. The flexible five-year partnership agreement includes a $10 million investment from Bayer, which will be managed by Trendlines. The partnership couples Bayer’s decades of experience in agricultural science, innovation and regulatory affairs with Trendlines’ specialization in investing in cuttingedge, early-stage medical and agricultural technologies.
“Israel is a hotspot of innovation and Trendlines offers the right combination of regional know-how and technical experience to be a compelling partner for us,” said Adrian Percy, Head of Research & Development at Bayer’s Crop Science division. “The agricultural market is ripe for groundbreaking innovation and Trendlines, with its focus on developing start-ups and new technologies beyond a onetime investment, shares our commitment to supporting productive, sustainable agriculture.”
Advanced solutions for extreme climate
Extreme climatic conditions, weed resistance and pest pressure are just some of the challenges facing agriculture today. At the same time, farmers are under pressure to produce sufficient, safe and healthy food in a sustainable manner. Through the Ag Innovation Fund, Trendlines and Bayer aim to identify cutting-edge solutions to these challenges and thereby contribute to shaping the future of agriculture.
Bayer’s aim is to help shape the future of the agricultural industry with innovative contributions to increase productivity and enable the production of sufficient food, animal feed, fibre and renewable raw materials for a growing world population. The company invests heavily in research and development in areas such as improved traits, seed technology, seed breeding, agrochemicals and biological products. Collaborating with outside partners, it offers insights into new areas of innovation and visibility for cutting-edge technologies.
Bayer and the Institute of Geography and Department of Informatics at the University of Hamburg are entering into a five-year research partnership aimed at jointly developing new, digital solutions for sustainable agriculture based on geoinformatics methods and models.
In a press release, Bayer said the project will leverage relevant geobasic data such as soil, climate, terrain and usage parameters for IT-based visualization of the consequences of agricultural processes.
Bayer said these models will help farmers all over the world make operational decisions, in particular in regard to selecting the right seed, the targeted use of crop protection agents and agricultural production inputs and appropriate scheduling of site-specific arable farming measures. Precise weather and soil data are becoming increasingly important in modern agriculture to optimise crop-growing and the deployment of available agricultural resources, and are an important element for further minimizing harm to the environment and avoiding damage to adjacent natural ecosystems when farming agricultural land, it said.
“With the University of Hamburg, we have found a competent partner which will help us to further advance our activities in the field of digital agriculture,” said Tobias Menne, head of Digital Farming at Bayer. “The teams of Professor Böhner and Professor Ludwig have a great deal of experience in the spatial and temporal modeling of environmental processes. Working together with them will help us better understand and model regional field conditions – including small-scale climatic peculiarities – in the future so that we can adjust agricultural practices accordingly.”
“Besides the scientific challenge, our main objective is to make agricultural processes resource-efficient, which involves optimising crop protection applications and improving environmental protection,” said Professor Jürgen Böhner, scientific head of the Institute of Geography at the University of Hamburg. “We are convinced that combining the expertise of both partners will generate innovative ideas for the agriculture of the future.”
Images courtesy of Bayer AG
Bayer launched its Galkia melon at Fruit Logistica 2016 with the promise of consistent melon flavour and quality, and optimum ripeness, all through summer. “The times of unpleasant surprises when buying a melon are over,” said Carin Stroeken, produce chain manager of the Europe Middle East & Africa region at Bayer’s vegetable seeds business.
Bayer says the new Galkia brand instead marks a return to the rich aroma and flavour of the time-honoured melon, and one which meets the demands of today’s markets “at every step of the value chain.”
Exclusive ripeness indicator
Harvesting Galkia melons at their ideal flavour and firmness is simple because this is when their skins turn from green to yellow. Bayer says this innovative ripeness indicator is the secret behind its guarantee that its melons will always taste like melons. It also means they reach Northern European markets at their optimum point of ripeness, throughout summer.
“One of our strengths is to work closely with each part of the food chain and the supply chain to understand and anticipate their demands,” Stroeken said. “Our customers can rely on the best quality. No surprises here!”
Galkia is being grown in different parts of Spain, such as Almeria, Murcia and La Mancha, to ensure summer-long supply – from early June to the end of September. Three Galkia varieties will be available this summer: Kirene, Kinder and Kinetic.
Bayer also has projects underway that would see Galkia varieties grown in the Southern Hemisphere, further increasing its availability.
Image courtesy of Bayer Crop Science