Juan Colomina, Managing Director of Coexphal (Association of Fruit and Vegetable Producers’ Organizations of Almeria) has highlighted as the main challenge, together with innovation, both economic and environmental sustainability and has insisted on the importance of the collaboration of all parties Involved because it shares the same customer: the consumer.
For Christophe Bouchet, production manager at Primor Fruit, collaboration with Bayer’s FCP has enabled them to work on further reducing waste levels and environmental effects.
Other international experts such as Freshfel, Greenyard and Netafim have emphasized customer orientation and the need to work from creativity to find new ways to consume fruit and vegetables easier.
Bayer’s Food Chain Partnership initiative is based on the proposal of integrated and tailored solutions that address the local challenges of producers and the supply chain. “We do not work with prepared solutions,” says Ronald Guendel, global director of Food Chain at Bayer’s Crop Science division.
“In each of our projects we check the situation on the spot and we talk to our partners to find out what their real needs are. Once we have this information, we develop individual action plans and provide producers with the tools they need to meet their needs”, says Guendel.
“Food Chain Partnership has had a great evolution during the last decade. It has become an indispensable link between the different parts of the food chain and of the 230 projects that are taking place in the world, 125 are taking place in Spain”, says Francisco Miró, director of FCP in Iberia.
For Bayer, sustainability is an integral part of its strategy. “We are committed to sustainable agriculture and we have the mission of ensuring global food safety through the production of efficient, healthy and nutritious crops,” explains Mathias Kremer, Head of Crop Strategies and Portfolio Management at Bayer’s Crop Science division. “Together with our partners we are looking for systems that allow agriculture to be more sustainable and ecological, but also viable for farmers from the economic point of view.”
Bayer’s Vegetable Seeds team has taken advantage of Fruit Logistica for the launch of some of its innovations for the fresh produce chain. As an example, a trend that has been clearly established has been the production of hydroponic lettuce. These plants grow in a greenhouse from a solution of water rich in nutrients.
At first glance, producing hydroponic lettuce is more expensive than growing it on the ground. However, there are many benefits. Growing in a greenhouse means that producers do not depend on the climate, they see the results before and they can grow much more often.
For consumers and processors, hydroponic lettuce is easier to handle, as they do not have to wash the crop with such dedication. In addition, during the growth stage, consumers can buy a sustainably manufactured product that requires fewer substances to protect the crop.
Bayer has also introduced a new carrot-based snack format that contains four different colors and is based on different varieties of Nunhems Imperator. Each snack has its own flavor and components, and growers benefit from their resistance to pests. Compared to traditional carrots, these are crisper, sweeter and have a much more attractive color.