UK – The National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), located in the UK, has successfully divested its strawberry assets to Bayer AG, a leading global company headquartered in Germany enabling Bayer to broaden its presence to the strawberry market.

The move aims to meet the growing consumer and retail demand for high-quality strawberries available year-round and ensure the availability of varieties that thrive in open field conditions.

This agreement allows Bayer’s Crop Science Division to offer a wider range of solutions for growers in the growing protected strawberry market. Strawberry farmers will have access to Bayer’s biological and chemical crop protection products.

“Strawberries are the fastest growing fruit crop, with year-round demand exceeding supply,” Inci Dannenberg, head of Bayer’s vegetables business, said in the release. “In fact, strawberries are the category leaders in the produce aisle, accounting for more than 23 percent of fresh fruit sales.”

With Bayer entering the strawberry market, growers will benefit from premium genetics, innovative crop protection products, and digital solutions. The addition of strawberries to the enterprise portfolio is a natural progression that many of their customers are making as well.

NIAB’s strawberry breeding program has been operating for more than 40 years from its roots at East Malling Research Station, which is in the U.K.’s Kent County.

With its advanced breeding technologies, Bayer will continue to deliver the advancements consumers, retailers and growers need, according to the release.

“We have built a strong foundation in precision breeding capabilities and look forward to bringing these approaches into strawberries,” J.D. Rossouw, the head of vegetable research and development for Bayer’s Crop Science Division, said in the release.

“By employing these techniques, we will be able to build upon the foundation established by NIAB and provide exceptional strawberries to our growers and the entire value chain.”

The acquisition is expected to close by January 1, 2024. Afterward, Bayer’s Vegetable Seeds business will provide support to a wide range of growers with seed varieties customized to meet the preferences and tastes of consumers worldwide.

NIAB conducts research and development in the field of agriculture. The Strawberry Breeding Program, which is one of their notable projects, aims to develop new varieties of strawberries and has been ongoing since 2008.

For all the latest fresh produce industry news updates from Africa, Middle East and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.