The time is now for a Greener Revolution in Agriculture, to increase the productivity of farming in a more sustainable and environmentally compatible way, said Bayer CropScience's new CEO Liam Condon in his keynote address at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin Monday.
"We need to recognize that we are reaching the ecological limits that our planet can bear. We must cultivate new ideas and answers to freeze our environmental footprint and farm better the land we have available," Condon urged.
Condon emphasized the importance of forging closer collaborations between the various stakeholders. "If we want to make sustainable progress towards our goal of enhancing food security and nutrition, driving growth, and protecting the environment, it is critical that we forge closer collaborations between the private and public sectors," he said.
Five-point plan to a Greener Revolution
Condon outlined a holistic five-point plan to propel a Greener Revolution, which encompasses strategic innovation investments, the long-term empowerment of farmers and particularly smallholders, a stronger focus on climate-smart solutions, enhanced nutrition and improved partnerships.
Speaking on the first step to ramp up investment in innovation, Condon said investing into agricultural R&D was the most productive way to support agriculture long-term.
"At Bayer CropScience, we recognize the ongoing need for innovative solutions to help feed and protect the planet," Condon said, reiterating the company's commitment to invest EUR 5 billion in R&D from 2011-16. While investing significantly in cutting-edge chemistry, the company is increasingly channeling its R&D investment into new areas of innovation, including plant-breeding techniques that focus on stress-tolerance, and biological crop protection. "It is crucial that we pursue all available technologies to make a sustainable difference in helping to ensure food security," added Condon.
In the second step, Condon discussed the need to enable farmers to become "agripreneurs", armed with the knowledge and technology needed to sustainably pilot their own farming success. "My favourite example of empowering farmers in a developing country is our Model Village concept in India," he revealed. The program - planned to be rolled out across 400 villages across the country - offers farmers a host of benefits including training and tools to boost their agricultural productivity and access to markets.