Monheim, February 11, 2015 – Year-around availability of high-quality fruits and vegetables at affordable prices is one crucial demand consumers have today: From February 4 to 6, Bayer Crop Science’s Food Chain Management team welcomed experts and partners from different stages of the food value chain. The key focus was the exchange on views about consumer demands, perfect quality and how to keep consistency of food supply for the future at the Fruit Logistica trade fair in Berlin (Germany). And as 2015 is also the year that marks the 10th anniversary of the Food Chain Partnership business model, Bayer CropScience invited its partners and honored guests to celebrate this decade of successful projects with a big birthday reception.
“Our Food Chain Partnership initiative has become an important and indispensable link between growers, traders, processors and retailers during the last ten years when it comes to improving sustainable practices for farmers and suppliers worldwide”, said Bayer CropScience CEO Liam Condon. “Given the strong positive feedback we have received from our customers, we intend to further expand this initiative over the coming years.”
“What started 10 years ago mainly as reaction to public concerns about food safety – especially residues – has grown into something much bigger,” Silke Friebe, Head of Food Chain Management at Bayer CropScience, added. “It has become a concept of strong collaboration and partnership between Bayer CropScience and the food value chain, to work together towards highly important common goals: sustainable agriculture, food safety and food security.”
Panel discussion with high-level food chain experts
Condon also participated in the panel discussion “Benefiting from Partnerships in Food Production – Facing Today’s Challenges Together” with experts and representatives from different stages of the food production process like Metro AG, Global G.A.P. or the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). Organized by Bayer CropScience’s Food Chain Management team the panel discussion focused on current challenges in food production and questions like: How can producers really make sure they produce the right quality at a competitive price? How can retailers be sure that their products are safe and have been produced sustainably? How do certifiers know what criteria to focus on? And how do we know what consumers ultimately want? The question on how members of the food chain can master these and many more challenges was answered in chorus by the participants: only by working together.
Silke Friebe started the panel discussion by reminding the audience of the most important global challenges in agriculture, such as feeding a growing population with less available land per capita, ensuring food safety and fighting hunger. “We simply can’t afford to lose produce to pests and diseases. There is a strong need for modern sustainable agriculture and innovative crop protection solutions.” She also pointed out that it is important to create awareness for the diverse challenges in food production and to show how partnerships help to overcome these challenges. “With a large variety of consistently high-quality and safe fruits and vegetables all year-round at affordable prices, consumers in particular ultimately benefit from our Food Chain Partnership projects around the world. We are currently in the process of initiating new projects and including further countries.”
“Consumers want to know where their food is coming from. The big challenge for us especially in developing markets is the reliable sourcing of products in terms of volume, safety and quality”, said Karolina Otto, Head of Sustainability at Metro AG. “The partnership with Bayer helped us a lot to establish close collaborations with local producers.”
John Said from Fresh Select, an Australian producer with more than 40 years of experience in growing vegetables added: “The main benefits we are seeing from the Food Chain Partnership with Bayer are certainly around the awareness on how to produce more sustainably. I want to further build on the success of our common work and take it to the next level.”
Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) stated that nobody had ever died as a result of pesticide residues. He also pointed out that the secondary standards sometimes set by retailers are not helpful but rather lead to counterproductive results. His statement on the very high level of food safety, especially in Europe, was confirmed by Dr. Margareta Buening-Fesel, Board Member of the “5 a day” campaign for healthy nutrition.
Working together for sustainable agriculture
Bayer CropScience’s Food Chain Partnership business initiative brings together growers, traders, processors and retailers. Building on the company’s profound knowledge of crops, the common goal of the Food Chain Partnership projects is to improve yields and harvest quality, helping to drive a productivity and efficiency increase based on sustainable agricultural principles for the benefit of all partners involved.
In 2015, Bayer CropScience celebrates its 10th anniversary and can build on a decade of experience and numerous successful projects in Food Chain Partnerships in 30 countries worldwide, spanning 40 crops, mainly fruits and vegetables. Looking ahead, Bayer CropScience wants to further expand this successful business model by establishing new key relations, expanding to further countries, for example in Africa, and transferring this model to broad-acre crops, such as rice, cereals and oilseeds.