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Water resources are under huge pressure given the current projections for population increase and demand for food on the one hand, and climate change on the other. By 2050, with an expected world population of 9 billion, scientists expect we’ll need 57% more water to sustain the population with current practices. The planet and its people need a smarter way to safeguard the water supply.
Farmers across the globe are constantly facing floods, droughts and extreme weather conditions which threaten their livelihood, and water shortages threaten farmers’ long-term viability and profitability.
At Bayer, we believe that every investment we make in innovation needs to be an investment in sustainability. Aiming to protect water resources, we’re working to develop technology that improves water efficiency and quality.
On average, 70% of global freshwater withdrawals are in agriculture. 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.
We are committed to improving water use per kilogram of crop by 25% by 2030, by transforming rice-cropping systems for smallholder customers in the relevant regions where Bayer operates. In addition, Bayer’s existing commitment of reducing the environmental impact of its crop protection portfolio by 30% by 2030 also contributes to water quality.
We will leverage our expertise and innovative seeds and crop protection portfolio, promote the use of efficient water management systems as well as capitalize on our digital farming solutions. Together with our partners, we will strive to promote water smart solutions and enhance best practices for better and responsible water use.
This is why we’re collaborating with growers, researchers and other stakeholders to develop and leverage water smart solutions to better manage water resources and sustainably achieve better harvests with less water. From seeds designed to produce better harvests with less water to digital tools that can tell growers when, where and how much water is needed—we’re committed to advancing water-conservation agriculture for the benefit of farmers, people and the environment.
Digital tools are giving farmers a complete picture of their operation. Using billions of data points, farmers can prevent problems before they arise, allowing them to grow enough while using less.
The Climate FieldViewTM platform, for example, offers precipitation alerts that notify farmers of rain. These notifications allow them to more accurately water their fields, while monitoring tools help farmers reduce pesticide runoff into freshwater sources. With real-time information at their fingertips, farmers can ensure water is used only where it’s needed when it’s needed, which in turn helps to deliver a successful harvest.
Through a combination of satellite and drone imagery, soil data, and weather, farmers are not only growing more sustainably — they’re also learning how to improve irrigation systems on the farm.
High efficiency irrigation systems are important tools
Automation with smart irrigation technology allows water and crop protection products to be applied in the right quantities, in the right place, and at the right time. Farmers are able to mitigate the impact on the environment, using up to 60 percent less water compared to traditional irrigation methods. DripByDrip irrigation, which is a part of a collaboration between Bayer, Netafim and BGN Technologies, can also be used to apply crop protection precisely and directly to the plants, reducing the amounts of fertilizers and other resources used.
Too much or too little water can adversely impact crop production.
When farmers need water solutions, Bayer dispatches its Drought Team to the rescue. See how this group works collaboratively to create solutions for the most complex problems.
Finding better answers through research
With water playing a major rate-limiting role in areas with water scarcity, we’re focused on strengthening the food supply for our growing population through research and development of water-efficient technologies and products.
Through Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA now operating as TELA maize project), we’re helping protect harvests in water-limited conditions. A partnership aimed at improving food security, as well as the livelihood of smallholder farmers, TELA provides research and expertise to sub-Saharan African farmers. The program helps these smallholders acquire locally adapted maize hybrids without paying a trait royalty fee, allowing them to feed their families and communities.
Since 2013, more than 100 drought-tolerant hybrids have been approved for commercial release in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Uganda.
Find out about our TELA project supporting maize growers
with water conservation in Africa
A thirst for new ideas
Like the very nature of water, our commitment to collaboration knows no boundaries. We believe finding the best way to preserve and protect our natural resources requires teamwork together with key stakeholders, regulators, NGOs, farmers, and consumers.