Dynamic changes in the agricultural market make sustainable development one of the basic directions of business development, which covers more and more areas of business activity. We are talking to Adam Kopyść, Head of Digital Business and Sustainability Venture at Bayer Sp. z o.o. (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia), Member of the Board of the Association for Sustainable Agriculture & Food in Poland.
How does Bayer approach the development of sustainable agriculture?
For us, it is not only an element of social responsibility, but above all the direction of development of our business. Agriculture that we are a part of, as a producer of plant protection products, seeds, digital solutions and sustainable services, is changing more and more intensively. With our actions, we want to adapt to the current and future needs of our customers to support them in the development of sustainable agriculture.
What are sustainable business activities?
In general, they are combination of three pillars of sustainability, i.e. economic (to make it profitable), environmental (to reduce environmental impact) and social (to make agriculture socially acceptable). Specifically, in our case, it is the inclusion of sustainability in our portfolio. For example, our corn seed varieties contain less moisture, which translates into lower energy consumption and financial expenditure on drying the yield and our plant protection products allow farmers to reduce the number of treatments. Our digital platform FieldView enables farmers to automatically record data, optimize costs and maximize yields in the spirit of sustainable agriculture. Last year, we introduced a yield mapping kit to Poland that allows farmers to use our platform also on older harvesters. Therefore, digital solutions are at the fingertips of all farmers.
There is also more and more talk in agriculture about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. How do you see this trend?
Agriculture is a significant emitter of greenhouse gases which, very importantly, has the potential to sequester CO2. In addition, all agricultural practices that reduce emissions, e.g. simplified tillage, growing cover crops, optimization of fertilizers and crop protection, etc., also bring other environmental benefits. Therefore, it can be said that action to reduce field emissions is at the center of sustainability. As a company running projects for the food industry in the field of emission reduction through cooperation with farmers from their supply chain, we see great potential of these activities for the development of sustainable agriculture in Poland.
To what extent is the educational aspect important in the promotion of sustainable agriculture?
It is crucial, but the benefits for farmers are even more important. If they see the benefits, they are more likely to expand their knowledge.
Cooperation with other companies or agricultural organizations to effectively talk about sustainable agricultural practices and the benefits themselves is extremely important. Therefore, Bayer is a proud co-founder of the Association for Sustainable Agriculture & Food in Poland and we are glad that the number of the Association’s members continues to grow.
In my opinion, social acceptance of farmers’ work also plays a key role for the future of agriculture. That is why, since 2019, we have been running the social campaign “Farmer produces your food” in social media. It was met with great support from the agricultural community, because it is worth reminding non-farmers that food does not grow on store shelves and showing that sustainable agriculture is not the future, but the present of Polish agriculture (although there is still a lot to do).
Thank you for the interview.