BAYER is lifting the profile of horticulture within its business.
In July, the global chemical giant announced a new business strategy specifically for horticulture with a focus on activities that "deliver tailored solutions to the farm, advance sustainable innovations on the farm and address value chain and consumer needs beyond the farm".
The company also reinforced its overall approach to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption on a global level.
The announcement comes on the back of 2021 being labelled by the United Nations as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables.
The horticulture strategy is underpinned by Bayer's genetics, crop protection and digital capabilities.
Bayer head of global vegetable seeds Inci Dannenberg said only a fraction of the global population comes close to consuming the daily recommended serving of fruits and vegetables.
"Bayer is doubling down on its approach to enabling growers and partners to address the barriers to improving fruit and vegetable consumption in order to achieve health for all, hunger for none," Ms Dannenberg said.
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In fiscal 2020, Bayer employed about 100,000 people and had sales of 41.4 billion euros.
Research and development expenses before special items amounted to 4.9 billion euros.
The result of this R&D investment is seen in Bayer's recent portfolio innovations around the world.
One example is Vynyty Citrus, a biological and pheromone-based crop protection product to control pests on citrus farms which contains an active liquid inside that does not generate resistance or residues in harvests or in the environment.
According to Bayer, it is the first such biological product on the market that is formulated with pheromones and natural pyrethrum to control pests in citrus fruits.
The product is currently being used in Spain and will soon be available to growers of citrus and other crops in other Mediterranean countries.
A statement from Bayer said as part of the company's commitment to reaching 100 million smallholder farmers by 2030, it is partnering with organisations to provide the tools, training and resources smallholder farmers need to help minimise risk and grow their businesses sustainably.
The company recently announced the signing of an agreement with Rabobank, including a plan for two pilots to be conducted in Vietnam and the Philippines over the coming months.
"With data-driven innovations at the forefront of this effort, Bayer is partnering with Rabobank to develop digital solutions for smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia," the statement said.
"Smallholder farmers need access to digital farming tools more than anyone else to help unlock their farming potential."
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The story Bayer lifts hort profile with eye on fruit and veg consumption first appeared on Good Fruit & Vegetables.