Bayer has announced its expansion of its fruits and vegetables business to now include strawberries according to a release. It is acquiring the assets of National Institute of Agricultural Botany, NIAB, which is UK based. The agreement will allow the Crop Science Division to expand into the protected strawberry market and will provide solutions and high-quality strawberries to growers. The varieties of strawberries are complimented by Bayer’s biological and chemical crop protection products.
“Strawberries are the fastest growing fruit crop, with year-round demand exceeding supply. In fact, strawberries are the category leaders in the produce aisle, accounting for more than 23 per cent of fresh fruit sales,” said Inci Dannenberg, head of Bayer’s Vegetables business. “With Bayer entering the strawberry market, we will offer growers premium genetics combined with innovative crop protection products and digital solutions. The addition of strawberries to Bayer’s portfolio is a natural progression that many of our customers are making as well.”
NIAB’s Strawberry Breeding Programme has been functional for over 40 years, starting at its East Malling Research Station in Kent County, UK.
“NIAB at East Malling has built a strong foundation in strawberries, supported by more than a century of world-class horticulture research at our Kent site, and we’re proud that it will continue with Bayer,” said Mario Caccamo, CEO of NIAB. “As well as bringing accelerated innovation to UK growers, Bayer will also make these great tasting strawberries available to more growers and consumers around the world.”
With protected cropping, strawberry growers will be able to have more control when it comes to their environment, crop management, pests and disease, and will see additional benefits in quality, harvest and security. The plants also use less water and have the potential to have a longer shelf life since they are grown closer to the consumer.
“We have built a strong foundation in precision breeding capabilities and look forward to bringing these approaches into strawberries,” said JD Rossouw, head of Vegetables Research & Development at Bayer’s Crop Science Division. “Using these techniques will enable us to continue to advance on the foundation set by NIAB and deliver superior strawberries to our growers and the value chain.”
The acquisition is expected to be completed by January 1, 2024.