This technology has contributed to preserving the earth’s natural resources while allowing farmers to grow more high-quality crops. By better controlling pests and weeds, crop biotechnology helps farmers increase their yields, which leads to higher incomes and better lives for themselves and their families. In 2015, the net farm level economic benefit was USD 15.5 billion, equal to an average increase in income of USD 90/hectare. From 1996 to 2015, the net global farm income benefit was USD 167.7 billion. It has also helped alleviate poverty for 16.5 million farmers, mostly smallholders, in developing countries. In 2015, farmers in developing countries earned USD 5.15 for each extra dollar invested in biotech crop seeds, while farmers in developed countries earned USD 2.76 for each extra dollar invested in biotech crop seeds. Regarding its environmental impact, the report highlights that crop biotechnol- ogy has significantly reduced agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions by helping farmers adopt more sustainable practices such as reduced tillage, which decreases the burning of fossil fuels and retains more carbon in the soil. Had biotech crops not been grown in 2015, for example, an additional 26.7 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide would have been emitted into the atmosphere, which is the equivalent of adding 11.9 million cars to the roads. But what do we have to offer in seeds and traits? It’s a question many farmers might be asking because seed is what they buy first. They think hard and long before deciding which seed to buy because the right choice is vital for the quality and quantity of their harvest. And that’s why we are heavily committed to seeds and traits of the highest quality. By investing in research and development as well as targeted acquisitions, we have built up an attractive seed and trait portfolio. Our holistic approach to the farmer’s production cycle begins with high-qual- ity seed that in many cases has been enhanced by value-adding traits. That seed may then be protected against a variety of pests and diseases by a product from Bayer’s SeedGrowth portfolio and given our coating to ensure the treatment stays on the seed. Better seed treatment has become a rapidly growing part of agriculture. Seed treatment technologies not only offer effective pest and disease control; adding microbials or inoculants also enhances and stimulates root and plant growth. Once plants start growing, our prod- ucts will protect the crop from losses caused by weeds, insects or fungal dis- eases. We give farmers the choice to serve as their one-stop-shop, without limiting their possibilities to mix-and-match with our competitors’ offers. Numerous ser- vices along the value chain add to the benefits for the farmer. For example, we advise farmers and players further down the value chain about the importance of quality produce. When farmers go for quality, they can demand a better price for their produce. This is for example the case in many Asian countries where the higher yield and quality made possible by our customized solutions and hybrid Arize™ brand rice has led to the reality among growers that they are on the path to prosperity as well as fighting climate change with native traits. Genome editing is another example of a technology that is likely to deliver breakthroughs in plant breeding innova- tion. It will significantly improve the scale and discovery efficiency of new research that will advance global agriculture and, ultimately this will result in more safe, nutritious and affordable food for consumers all over the world, produced in a more environmentally sustainable manner by many small seed and plant breeding companies using technology that is getting more affordable every day. Enhancing crop productivity and promoting environmental sustainability at the same time can only be achieved by combining advances in science with the systematic application of good agri- cultural practices that also respect local culture and traditions. Innovations in seeds, traits, chemical and biological plant protection and data sciences will help us produce more customized solu- tions to meet the needs of all farmers, both large and small. By protecting harvests, increas- ing yields and reducing their ecological footprint, farmers will earn a more sus- tainable return on their investment and consumers will benefit from more safe, nutritious and affordable food. We aim to be at the forefront of creating value through science and innovation in order to achieve our mission at Bayer: ‘Science For A Better Life.’ 52 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM Photo: Bayer