Bayer urges G8 ag summit to set signals for crop R&D

17 April 2009 20:48  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Bayer CropScience wants the G8 agricultural summit in Italy this weekend to set clear signals for much more research and development (R&D) to secure global food supplies, it said on Friday.

The first summit of G8 agricultural ministers is scheduled for Saturday through Monday in Treviso, Italy.

Bayer CropScience head Friedrich Berschauer said countries needed to intensify R&D to boost agricultural productivity amid rising demand from the food and biofuels sectors and limited availability of arable land.

In recent years, agricultural yields have been growing at a much slower pace. Agricultural productivity in developing countries was slowing while demand for food rose as populations kept growing, he said.

Governments had curbed public spending on agricultural R&D and investment in the sector was no longer seen as a top priority, he said.

Berschauer called for a second “green revolution” in agriculture.

The green revolution of the 1960s and ’70s boosted agricultural productivity through advances in seeds, irrigation and chemical crop protection, he said.

Berschauer’s appeal came as industry groups warned this week that Germany risked falling behind in research and production of genetically modified plants after the country’s agriculture minister banned Monsanto’s MON 810 maize (corn).

Monheim, Germany-based Bayer CropScience is part of chemicals and pharmaceuticals major Bayer. It employs 18,000 people in 120 countries.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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