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Bayer's Ag Issues Forum Offers Sustainability, Economic Insights

Bayer's Ag Issues Forum Offers Sustainability, Economic Insights

29 February 2012

ANALYSIS - Bayer CropScience hosted the 2012 Ag Issues Forum today in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, with topics covering sustainability, global economic trends and global food security, writes Sarah Mikesell, TheCropSite senior editor.

Lykele van der Broek (shown in photo), Bayer CropScience Global Chief Operating Officer, and Mathias Kremer, Head of Global BioScience, shared Bayer's four-pillar approach to their business as well as expectations for their core crop segments. They also shared data to support their business position:

  • Within 10 years, crop demand will grow by 25 per cent due to population growth, income growth, food demand growth and diets shifting to meat.
  • Despite land expansion and yield increases, the supply-demand balance will tighten.
  • North and South America are feeding the world and will continue to do so.

Kai Robertson, Director of Food, Beverage and Agricultural Practice Business for Social Responsibility, shared insights on the growing problem of food waste and its contribution to climate change.

  • The social and economic cost of hunger and food insecurity in the US in 2010 was $167.5 billion (+ federal nutrition programs @ $94 billion/year) = >$260 billion.
  • 25 per cent of food we bring into US homes is tossed - adding up to about $2,200 annually of a household's food bill.
  • Annual US food waste equals energy equivalent of 350 million barrels of oil which is enough to power the US for a week.
  • Estimates indicate that food waste accounts for more than a quarter of total freshwater consumption globally.
  • Billions of pounds of food are rotting in landfills, emitting methane gas.

William Lapp, Grain Economist with Advanced Economic Solutions, explained domestic and global economic factors that are driving commodity prices higher:

  • Strong global economic growth being led by developing countries such as China.
  • Weakening of the US Dollar since 2002.
  • Current US biofuels policy.

Gawain Kripke, Director of Policy and Research with Oxfam America, whose mission is to create lasting solutions to hunger, poverty and soical injustice, shared Oxfam's agenda for the US:

  • Invest in small-scale food producers, especially women
  • End excessive speculation in commodity markets
  • Modernize the food aid system
  • Stop giveaway to the corn-ethanol industry
  • Regulate land and water grabs

Sarah Mikesell, Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell, Senior Editor

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