Richard Bryce, Country Division Head, Bayer Crop Science Alpe Adria

Important Time to Be in Agriculture

It was two years ago that Bayer announced its intention to acquire Monsanto, and in order to do so it had to obtain more than 30 regulatory approvals, and to divest many of its own businesses and assets

Although Bayer is still primarily recognised as a pharmaceuticals company, it has been present in agriculture for a long time and has developed many high-quality agricultural solutions, stresses Richard Bryce, Country Division Head Bayer Crop Science Alpe Adria, speaking for CorD.

Could you describe Bayer’s business strategy, considering that you’re now a global leader in agriculture?

Over the past few years, we’ve focused our portfolio on building leading businesses in health and nutrition. However, this is an incredibly important time to be in agriculture. Although Bayer is still primarily recognised as a pharmaceuticals company – which I also think will change – Bayer has been present in agriculture for a long time. We’ve developed many high-quality agricultural solutions, some of which we had to divest, with a heavy heart, as part of the acquisition process. However, acquiring Monsanto represents an important and logical step in our company’s evolution.

This acquisition doubles the size of our agriculture business—making Bayer a leader in the sector. This means we will be in a better position to help farmers address the significant challenges they face. Strategically, our combined portfolio will bring together Monsanto’s outstanding seeds, plant traits and digital farming platforms with Bayer’s strength in chemical and biological crop protection solutions.

How will small farmers and consumers benefit from the acquisition of Monsanto?

About half the world’s food is produced by smallholder farmers. This is also the situation in this region, where agriculture is predominantly a family business.

That connection is why we believe smallholder farmers play a significant role in agriculture, and why they should be given new knowledge and technologies in particular. We’ve been doing this for years; each season we educate farmers and conduct field trials, to show them the effects of our products and possibilities in agricultural practises.

Smallholder farmers can become ‘agripreneurs’ who play a role in feeding their families and safeguarding the local food supply. That’s why they need access to high-quality seeds and appropriate crop protection options – that’s not something developed and accessible only to large agricultural businesses.

New agricultural solutions will enable us to make tailored solutions adapted to the needs of a particular farmer

New agricultural solutions will enable us to make tailored solutions adapted to the needs of a particular farmer.

In general, due to technological development and innovation, crop protection products and improved seed varieties have helped farmers increase yields by 50 per cent or more. These efficiencies enable greater production on less land, which conserves biodiversity and protects soil health, ultimately lowering the price of food for the consumer.

What do you expect after integration is finalised?

It’s been a long journey; it was two years ago that Bayer announced its intention to acquire Monsanto and along the way we had to obtain more than 30 regulatory approvals and divest many of our own businesses and assets, where our employees showed great dedication – not only in facing those requirements, but also in maintaining everyday work and support to our customers.

We will firstly have to integrate Monsanto’s business into our Crop Science division and harmonise business processes. That will probably take some time, but we remain committed to our strong heritage of transparency, sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The combined business will put us in a position of even greater societal responsibility, as we combine a leading seeds portfolio with an innovative crop protection portfolio.