Agriculture’s Role in Combating Water Scarcity

Ear with frozen water drops

Water scarcity has emerged as a critical threat driven by many demographic and economic pressures (e.g., population growth, rising wealth, increased meat and dairy consumption and expanding biofuel production) that increase water demand and put high pressure on water resources. 

As the global population grows and the planet warms up, water resources are expected to dwindle even more, leading to a 40% gap between supply and demand in 2030. The agricultural sector, which accounts for nearly 70% of global freshwater consumption, is central to addressing these challenges. 

With our potential to develop innovative, scientific solutions that help build greater water resilience in agriculture, Bayer is uniquely positioned to contribute to this space and achieve significant impact at scale.



Bayer commits to driving positive change in water productivity in water scarce regional cropping systems, starting with rice, which is responsible for up to 43 % of the world’s irrigation water withdrawals.


By 2030, we aim to improve water use per kilogram of crop by 25% by transforming rice-cropping systems for our smallholder customers in the relevant regions where we operate, starting in India1.

Conventional rice cultivation is land, water, energy and labor intensive – resources that are becoming increasingly scarce. Over the next two decades, moving to a more economically viable and sustainable rice production method will be inevitable. One of the most promising solutions is Direct Seeded Rice (DSR). DSR is a modern, technology driven and less resource-intensive cultivation system where rice seeds are sown directly into the field, as opposed to the traditional transplanted rice grown in water. 

Our ambition is to continue developing high-performing seeds bred specifically for the rice system and tailored to different farm environments – supported by safe, effective and targeted crop protection products. Empowered by innovation, our tailored system will be digitally enabled, grounded in sustainability, and promoted by partnerships.

Beyond our Commitment, Bayer has enshrined water at the core of its business and aims at building water resilience through a holistic water strategy leveraging multiple levers: 

  • Innovations in seeds and crop protection portfolio – Our plant scientists today routinely advance solutions that help farmers combat environmental challenges such as pests, disease or drought. Plants bred to be adapted to certain climates or more resistant to changing environmental conditions have better chances of survival in the field, which leads to more productive harvests.
  • Leveraging partnerships and advancing water-efficient agriculture – At Bayer, we believe transforming cropping systems and building water resilience require a collaborative approach across the industry and beyond to make the best solutions accessible to farmers.
  • Digital enablement and promotion of Good Agronomic Practices – Our digital farming platform Climate FieldView™, and our partnerships with irrigation ag/water management companies, aim at supporting farmers develop tools that can help them fine tune their operations and sustainably manage their farms.
  • Future-proofing of sustainable food production – Across our global Bayer ForwardFarming network of independent, modern sustainable farms, we partner with entrepreneurial farmers to demonstrate how the implementation of innovative agriculture tools and practices can benefit the farmer, environment and society.