The world’s population increases by three people every second. This seems like a manageable number, but in 2050, when this second’s three newborns are adults, the inconceivable number of 9.7 billion people will inhabit the Earth – about one third more than today.
The question is, how will it be feasible to feed these almost ten billion people when it is already impossible to meet the current basic needs of the world’s population?
Bayer’s answer is sustainable agriculture.
We believe that our contribution to more sustainable agriculture is the best way to overcome these challenges and ensure future food security for everyone. We also have to master the challenges of modern agriculture and society's expectations.
Bayer’s reply is with innovations in research and development, extraordinary initiatives, and our experts’ commitment. This is how we help farmers increase their productivity, protect the environment, and improve people’s quality of life worldwide.
New solutions, visionary thinking, and creative ideas – bright young people have clear ideas in regard to how they go about dealing with challenges. Bayer’s training programs seek to dialogue with tomorrow’s opinion leaders because we have confidence in their great potential, their passion, and their inspiration in the process of working with us to meet the world’s major challenges in the 21st century.
... is half the task, and we at Bayer seek to create a good career beginning for young people in our “Baylab” in Monheim, Germany – where every year about 2,000 girls and boys experience how fascinating the natural sciences can be. For an entire day, young people are immersed in the world of scientific research dedicated to improving important crops. They do experiments in which they analyze the genetic makeup of these plants and learn why rice and rapeseed are so crucial for us – and the world.
€150,000,000,000 annually – This is the estimate of the economic benefit bees provides through pollination! Were these tiny insects to disappear from the face of the Earth, though, the damage would be twice as great. But this is not the only reason we do a lot to protect them: A world without bees means a world without flowers. Learn more about pollinators here.
Weather, mites, food shortages, misapplied pesticides – all of these are factors that make bees sick. There’s nothing we can do about the weather, but we’re doing our best to protect bees in our own way: with products against mites and pesticides that are exhaustively tested.
We are testing blooming strips in a variety of locations and employing researchers who are looking for ways to make sure our products end up precisely where they belong: on the field.
You don’t need a crystal ball to see that future farms will be networked. Today, satellites and sensors on land offer detailed crop data. Weather reports, statistics, and input about plants and planting are important indicators: Is there enough water or fertilizer? Do the plants need more safeguards?
Bayer furnishes facts. With our technology partners, we give farmers individualized ideas on how to increase yields and use resources in a more targeted, environmentally friendly way.
Agriculture machines, satellites, and weather stations generate vast amounts of data. Being able to link and interpret them correctly creates a great advantage. Therefore, we seek the knowledge of startups and the experience of space-technology companies that specialize in this type of analysis.
Consumers demand – and, of course, should have – safe, high-quality food. In response, we have created the Food Chain Partnership. In this initiative project, commercial supply-side members of the food chain work together: producers, exporters and importers, processors, and traders.
All have a common goal: to create transparency and trust through open dialogue. Today, there are partnerships in 40 countries for 30 crops.
Guatemala is the venue of very successful collaboration. Bayer’s partner is SIESA, a vegetable exporter that works with 17 large domestic producers. Through consultation with our food chain managers in regard to sustainable production methods, the company has solidified its reputation as a safe supplier.
Exports have risen by 20%, and the partnership has had a significant result: The success has ensured the livelihoods of some 1,200 smallholder farms that supply SIESA with high-quality vegetables.
The name of his farm, “The Green Heart”, proves Dutchman Jasper Roubos’ passion for his job, as does his joining the Bayer ForwardFarming initiative. His agricultural enterprise is one of several in the program. These selected farms share their expertise and ongoing improvements as they combine their economic success with responsibility towards the environment and society.
With this platform, Bayer increases the exchange of knowledge among farmers, consumers, politicians, and academics.
The Peeters brothers, Jan and Josse, run a 140-hectare farm near Brussels whose main crop is potatoes.
Recently, they decided to share their sustainable agriculture experience, and now farmers across Europe follow their activities with interest. “We want to show what we can contribute today and to a sustainable, productive future,” said Jan.
Bayer shares this desire. The Peeters were among the first to join the ForwardFarming initiative and say “Working with Bayer is a wonderful journey.”
Every year weeds destroy agricultural products that could nourish a billion people. Tried-and-tested herbicides help, but they are losing their effectiveness against an ever-growing number of weeds: a development that must urgently be stopped.
Our solution is called Integrated Weed Management, a holistic approach based upon knowledge transfer, cooperation with leading scientists and institutions – and innovation.
There are many ways to destroy weeds. Crop rotation is one, using herbicides is another, and thoroughly plowing the land is yet another.
Probably the most “heavyweight” contribution has been made by Raymond Harrington: The Australian invented the “Harrington Seed Destructor”. Three meters high and weighing more than five tons, the mighty machine pulverizes the weed seeds before they reach the ground.
Their fields are usually about the size of two football fields, but on these small plots of land, they produce more than half the planet’s food! Thus it is no exaggeration to say that today, small farmers and their families on six of the seven continents are actually the people who feed the world. For Bayer, this is a key reason to support them in the context of our initiatives with advice and resources – as well as with effective plant protection.
Mr. Tam, a coffee farmer in Vietnam’s highlands, begins his day with a ritual: He kindles incense for the household deities, “for a good harvest.” In the past, it seems his prayers were often not answered: In some years, insect pests and fungi destroyed half of his crop.
However, the fact that vigorous plants ripen on his plantation today has less to do with the incense than with the efforts of Mr. Hien, who is a Bayer expert. He showed Mr. Tam and his family how to protect their plants and increase their yields. Identifying and meeting the needs of smallholders will remain our main objective in the future as it is today.