SeedGrowth Review ISF 2016

Encouraging outlooks and new opportunities

The “Natural Way Forward in Business & Life” was the theme of this year’s ISF World Seed Congress in Punta del Este, Uruguay. What were the hottest topics discussed at the event? How did the participants perceive the holistic approach of Bayer SeedGrowth? Bjoern Hardt, Global Key Account Management Seed Companies at Bayer, has the answers.
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Bjoern Hardt, Global Key Account Management Seed Companies

What were the most important topics the seed and seed treatment industry was discussing at the congress?

From my perspective, one of the most discussed topics was the opportunities in the Latin American market for seeds and seed applied technologies. The overall outlook for seed applied technologies is quite encouraging. We also had lively discussions about crop efficiency technologies and new frontiers such as nematode control. In recent years, the business environment for seed treatment in Latin America has been affected by some adversities. Why is the overall picture turning around for the better? There are two driving factors that contribute to this tendency. First, we see a slightly higher commodity price environment in some Latin American markets and farmers taking advantage of the devaluation of the local currencies. In Argentina, in particular, the political situation has improved. The new administration has enacted a couple of reforms including adjustments of the export tax regime for major crops such as soybeans. This gives farmers in Argentina confidence to return to the field and continue to invest.

In total, 1,200 representatives from all over the world joined this year‘s congress. Why is it important for Bayer SeedGrowth to be part of this annual gathering?

The ISF World Seed Congress is the most important international meeting for the seed industry. All relevant stakeholders come together and exchange views on related topics. For us as Bayer SeedGrowth, it is key to be part of it, to showcase our specific competencies and our integrated offer. In fact, the Bayer booth was well received. We had a good number of meetings and a lot of interaction with visitors and business partners. We saw a lot of interest in our integrated and tailored offer. The overall atmosphere was very positive and fruitful for lively and substantial discussions.
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In this year’s SeedGrowth Magazine, Bayer dedicated a major story to nematodes. Is the awareness of this hazard growing in the seed business?

Indeed, there is increased awareness of the nematode problem on all levels, including both growers and seed companies. This is also reflected in the fact that first solutions, both chemical and biological, are available and new solutions will be developed.
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Biologicals are a good catchword: Bayer is working on the next generation of products. Were crop efficiency solutions also discussed in Punta del Este?

In particular, there is a specific need for inoculants in Latin America, and there is a clear demand for inoculants with a longer shelf life and better nodulation. Biological plant protection solutions overall are of global relevance and interest is growing significantly in the light of more regulatory scrutiny and their positive contribution to crop efficiency. So, biologicals have the enormous potential of being an integral part of modern seed treatment solution packages.

Finally a word on the country and its people: How did you perceive your hosts?

It was a pleasure to join this year‘s conference - not least due to the Uruguayans. I perceived them as very warm people and very curious about the latest developments driving international politics and markets. Uruguay is a strong agricultural export country and with its wide landscape and resource availability it seems predestined for contributing agricultural products to international food markets.