ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — Bayer and the agricultural supply chain manager Cefetra, a BayWa company, have started a food chain partnership designed to drive sustainable cultivation of agricultural commodity crops. The overarching goal of the partnership is to support Latin American farmers in implementing agricultural practices that are environmentally sound, socially adequate and economically viable.

In order to achieve this goal, Bayer supports farmers to achieve certification for responsible soybean production through its Valore service. Bayer enables the farmer to reach the required level of certification, while Cefetra provides the actual certification that meets the requirements of the European feed compounders for sustainable soybean usage. The initial focus of the partnership is on soybean production in Brazil; however a similar approach is being explored for Argentina.

“Already in 2009 Cefetra started with certification of soya according to the Certified Responsible Soy standard (CRS), which is nowadays one of the leading standards used by the feed industry in Europe. Next to the CRS standard, Cefetra uses other certification standards such as Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) and ProTerra,” said Daan Vriens, chief executive officer of Cefetra. “Cefetra has always focused its certification program on mainstream soya import. Through this partnership with Bayer we are able to further increase the volume of certified soya, in order to meet the growing demand from our customers for certified sustainable raw materials.”

In 2015, Bayer and Cefetra set-up a pilot project, seeking to raise the production standards through certification of sustainably produced soya. This project already enabled the sourcing of more than 120,000 tonnes of certified soybeans originating from Brazil which are either CRS or RTRS certified.

The companies agreed to further strengthen their cooperation and signed a three-year collaboration agreement. Both parties agreed to extend the existing initiative to more producers in Brazil, further crops and additional countries. A pilot project on responsible soybean will also be initiated in Argentina this year.

“Soybeans are a crop with great strategic importance for the region and for Bayer. We want to advance the adoption of good agricultural practices and innovation in the field and also help growers to improve their farm operations. Certification is one important tool to this end. We encourage farmers to follow certification standards, including RTRS and CRS, which will make their business more sustainable and also more profitable in the long run,” said Eduardo Estrada, head of Bayer’s Crop Science division in Latin America.

In its food chain partnership business model, Bayer brings together growers, traders, processors and retailers. Building on the company’s profound knowledge of crops, the common goal of the initiatives is to improve yields and quality of the harvested produce, helping to drive a productivity and efficiency increase based on sustainable agricultural principles for the benefit of all partners involved. Bayer can build on 10 years of experience in partnerships in 30 countries spanning more than 50 crops, primarily fruit and vegetables.

This successful model is currently being extended to broad-acre crops such as soybeans, oilseed rape, wheat and rice.