Bayer said Sept. 4 it would invest more than three billion euros (US$4.9 billion) through to 2012 in research and development to tap into the global farm products boom.
Bayer's CropScience division said the funds will go into innovative crop protection products and new solutions in seeds and plant biotechnology over the next four years. The company said it is also planning to bring 10 new active ingredients in crop protection to market with a peak sales potential of more than one billion euros.
"In view of the persistently high demand for agricultural raw materials, the limited amount of arable land available, and impending climate change, the agricultural industry is facing some major challenges," Bayer CropScience chairman Friedrich Berschauer said.
Bayer said that the farm product boom, notably in South America, would lead it to reach its goal of two billion euros in sales of active ingredients by 2009, two years earlier than forecast.
In the first half of 2008 alone, CropScience saw turnover grow 19% to 3.78 billion euros, showing it had more than compensated for negative currency exchange effects with stronger sales and price hikes.
The world's biggest chemical group, Germany's BASF, has also banked heavily on agricultural products, particularly in emerging markets.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008