What has Bayer’s vegetable seed business focused on in 2021?
Inci Dannenberg: 2021 has presented an exciting opportunity to focus on our purpose of advancing health and nutrition, because it has been declared by the UN as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables.
So within that focus, we have been able to do a lot of things that celebrate the importance of fruits and vegetables in health and nutrition.
Bayer’s overall vision is ‘Health for all, hunger for none’, so this really dovetails nicely. There has been a lot of activity going on with the vegetable seeds business relating to promotion of fresh produce.
There have been a couple of really exciting things in particular. Within the Bayer framework, we have what we call a ForwardFarming network. These are farms that already exist and are employing sustainability practices, showcasing to stakeholders the types of things that growers doing in the area of sustainability.
We were able to bring the BraZander Nursery in the Netherlands into this network, to help promote sustainable practices. That was really exciting.
You recently announced your Vegetables by Bayer platform. What value will this bring to customers?
ID: We have two powerhouse brands in Seminis, which predominantly focuses on open field and greenhouse innovation, and DeRuiter, which focuses mainly on glasshouse and greenhouse innovation.
Vegetables by Bayer brings those two together to leverage value and R&D underneath one Bayer platform.
It’s a great time to move forward with this, creating an umbrella over all the work we are doing, with a focus on ‘bringing the outside in’, as opposed to being inwardly focused.
Are there any products that are really exciting you at this moment?
ID: Right now, the tomato industry is facing a real challenge in ToBRFV, and we have launched varieties that offer intermediate resistance to the disease.
This is a critical tool for growers globally, and in the next couple of years we are looking to launch tomatoes with full resistance.
One really fun product is our newest melon variety, Orange Candy. This is from Spain, has multi-disease resistance and field resistance, but it also offers good shelf-life and taste.
It’s really tricky to get all of those traits together, so we are very excited about Orange Candy.
To read the full interview, see the November/December 2021 issue of Eurofruit Magazine