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BAYER CROPSCIENCE ANNOUNCES ITS AFRICAN INITIATIVES
Source: Bayer CropScience news release

Bayer CropScience is committed to helping raise agricultural productivity in Africa by giving smallholder farmers access to innovations and knowledge, said Marc Reichardt, Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer CropScience and Head of Agricultural Commercial Operations, at the 3rd AGCO Africa Summit in Berlin, Germany.

In his speech titled "Innovation for Africa", Reichardt focused on the great potential of the African agriculture to produce more food. "The African continent is faced with a growing population and strongly affected by malnutrition," he said, emphasizing the lack of access to production inputs such as fertilizers, high-quality seeds, innovative chemical and biological crop protection solutions, machinery and other important farming tools.

Bayer CropScience's activities in Africa range from seeds and modern crop protection technologies, training in good agricultural practices and environmental protection to product stewardship programs. "Partnerships are key for rural development and prosperity because they can radically transform smallholder farmers' access to modern technologies.

This helps improving their farming and livelihoods," Reichardt said. Public-Private-Partnerships with Bayer CropScience along the entire food value chain are already in place - agricultural supply chains, sustainable land management, agricultural research, and microfinance - and the company plans to further expand its activities in Africa.

New products increase Bayer CropScience's business footprint in Africa

"Today, around 20 percent of our annual sales in Africa is achieved with new products launched in 2013, and we aim to further increase this percentage to 90 percent by 2020," Reichardt pointed out, adding that Bayer CropScience is committed to vigorously defending its intellectual property rights and to preventing illegal trade in crop protection products.

The company is working to combat counterfeiting of its products not only to protect its own competitiveness, but also on behalf of customers, consumers and the environment. "Harmonization of existing regulations and data protection are needed to help us succeed in our fight, because too many illegal and non-registered products are still circulating freely in Africa," Reichardt added.

Tailored solutions for smallholder farmers

The company's tailored offerings are well adapted to the needs of African farmers; for example, small-size packs of crop protection products are available, making calculation of the correct dosage easier and thus promoting the safe use and disposal of agrochemicals.

"We also offer excellent high-yielding seed varieties in several crops, such as in vegetables, cotton and hybrid rice," Reichardt said. Bayer CropScience is testing improved rice seed varieties and has already started breeding activities on cotton seeds for the African market.

Expansion of African network of legal entities and representative offices

Bayer CropScience has six legal entities and two representative's offices in eight African countries as well as a wide range of successful cooperations with distributors and other partners in the food value chain. The company plans to establish new legal entities in Ivory Coast and Nigeria and offices in Ethiopia and Zambia by 2015. The headcount across Africa is planned to increase by more than 40 percent through 2015.

"Small African farms can have big impact because they contribute to feeding the global population. Their productivity can be increased enormously by implementing innovations into agricultural practice," Reichardt summarized, calling for further public investments in social services and infrastructures, especially transportation, distribution networks, agricultural research and development to improve agricultural production in Africa.

The AGCO Africa Summit is a joint initiative of AGCO, Bayer CropScience, KFW Development Bank, DEG - Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, Rabobank, the John Agyekum Kufuor (JAK) Foundation, and De Lage Landen.


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