Bayer CropScience to expand seed and plant traits business

17 September 2009 22:24  [Source: ICIS news]

MONHEIM, Germany (ICIS news)--Bayer CropScience is investing about €3.5bn ($5.1bn) through 2018 to accelerate the expansion of its BioScience seed and plant traits business, company executives said on Thursday.

“We are currently active in about one quarter of the seeds and traits market,” said Joachim Schneider, head of the BioScience business. “In the future, we want to offer an expanded portfolio of products that will serve around one half of this market directly.”

Monheim-headquartered Bayer CropScience said it invested more than €1bn in the BioScience business between 2003 and 2008. The business develops and commercialises seed for vegetable and agriculture crops, as well as plant traits based on modern breeding methods and plant biotechnology.

Friedrich Berschauer, Bayer CropScience’s chairman, said the BioScience business plans to launch 14 seed varieties with innovative traits between 2008 and 2016. Efforts to develop new traits will focus primarily on cereals and soya beans, in addition to its current key crops of cotton, rapeseed oil, rice and vegetables, he added.

Bayer CropScience said it intends to more than triple sales from the BioScience business to about €1.4bn by 2018. The business increased sales by 18.8% at constant exchange rates last year, contributing €452m to Bayer CropScience’s total sales of €6.4bn.

Bayer CropScience estimates that the agrochemicals market will grow by an average of 3%/year for the next 10 years, with the total market increasing from approximately €48bn to some €66bn by 2018.

“While we may see above average growth of 6% in the plant biotechnology segment, we expect moderate growth of about 1-­2% on average per year in the conventional crop protection market,” said Berschauer. “Consequently, the share of the seeds and traits business will increase to 48% by 2018, putting it almost on a par with the crop protection business.”

New technologies - and modern seed breeding and plant biotechnology in particular - will play a significant role in boosting agricultural productivity, which is essential if people are to have access to enough affordable food, Berschauer told journalists at Bayer CropScience’s annual press conference.

The Institute for Global Food Economy and Rural Development at the University of Gottingen predicts that food production will have to approximately double by 2050, he said.

($1 = €0.68)

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By: Anna Jagger
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