With cutting edge farm technologies under its disposal, world's top agrochemical company Syngenta has expressed readiness to explore partnerships and knowledge sharing opportunities with suitable partners including Bangladesh.
‘Syngenta has the technical expertise in the most advanced agricultural technologies and would be open to explore partnerships and knowledge sharing opportunities,’ Eric Fyrwald, chief executive officer of Syngenta International said.
In an exclusive interview with this news agency during his three-day (August 6-8) Bangladesh visit Eric told UNB that Syngenta will make more investment in Bangladesh and announcement will come in this regard in sometime next year.
China's state-run enterprise ChemChina acquired the Switzerland-based global agribusiness leader - Syngenta, last year. As its CEO, Eric Fyrwald oversaw the Syngenta's acquisition, worth in excess of $43 billion, considered the largest ever global foreign acquisition by a Chinese company.
With its crop protection and seed business in Bangladesh, Syngenta International holds 60 per cent stake in Syngenta Bangladesh Limited and the state-run Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation the remaining 40 per cent.
Eric Fyrwald said, Syngenta's goal is to produce safe, wholesome food and feed for consumers, as well as fiber and biofuels for the agricultural industry irrespective of the plant breeding method used. Without advances in modern agricultural practices, people/civil society would be limited in their capacity to produce enough and better quality food and feed for an ever-growing global population, he added.
Syngenta operates state-of-the-art research and development facilities - The Innovation Center in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, USA and Syngenta's Beijing Innovation Center (SBIC), which is a leading global genome editing programme.
‘Genome editing is one of the PBIs (plant breeding innovations) that improves conventional breeding by making intentional, specific and beneficial changes in the plant genome providing the same genetic diversity, which would be available via traditional breeding but in a faster and more directed way,’ explained Eric.
Bangladesh is currently at the forefront of developing and releasing the world's first Vitamin-A enriched rice - Golden Rice.
In response to a query, Eric said, ‘Syngenta has supported the Golden Rice project and is proud to be associated with it and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which is the lead developer of the project, along with the inventors in a continuing commitment of the project.’
Eric, who also serves as the Chairman of the not-for-profit Syngenta Foundation, added, ‘Although Syngenta has a significant interest in seeing the humanitarian benefits from this technology become reality, we have no commercial interest in Golden Rice whatsoever. Golden Rice is an exclusively humanitarian project.’
Responding to another question regarding Syngenta's plan to set up production plants of agro-chemicals in Bangladesh, the CEO said, ‘Syngenta in Bangladesh has made large investments in Seed Processing plant, Learning and Development Centre, network of crop protection and field research stations, sophisticated R & D Facilities, laboratories and seed production sites.’
Eric, also a former group vice president of US agribusiness conglomerate, DuPont, went on to add, ‘Our innovation brings new products in the market and combines genetics and chemistry to create new solutions for the farmers in Bangladesh. We will continue to strengthen our capabilities to serve the farmers of Bangladesh. We have a crop protection plant at Chittagong, Seeds Processing plant and Learning and Development Centre at Bogra, four site offices at Bogra, Jessore, Gazipur and Chittagong.’
‘In Bangladesh, we continue to support farmers by bringing the best technology to the market. We will continue delivering grower-centric offers that enables the region's small farmers to grow more efficiently and responsibly.’
Eric Fyrwald said, ‘Our high-quality seeds, innovative planting materials, crop protection products help farmers to improve yield, production, quality which help them keep pace with rising demands. For example our GroMore protocol for Rice which is locally called Rupa is popular among farmers in Bangladesh.’
‘The high yielding varieties of BRRI dhan 28, BRRI dhan 29 and BRRI dhan 49 are cultivated by following our GroMore protocol and the average yields of farmers have increased up to 30 percent when compared to conventional farmer practice,’ he added.
Eric said that the Syngenta seeds, crop protection products and solutions are available across 84 thousand villages in Bangladesh. ‘Our 1100 Field Forces comprising of full time employees, contractual and temporary staff conduct field activities like farm family meetings, individual farm family contact and demonstrations serving 8.5 million farmers per year through various activities.’
Eric Fyrwald joined Syngenta as its CEO in June 2016. He has led the company during a time of strategic change and industry consolidation including managing the company through to the successful acquisition of Syngenta by China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina).