Legacy challenges await Bayer on bringing new BT cotton tech to India

Bayer will need to cope with what it finds a rather non-conducive environment in the country to introduce new technology in BT cotton.

By E Kumar Sharma  
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Healthcare and crop protection major Bayer, which merged into itself global seed major Monsanto, is yet to have an integration in India. The company will need to cope with what it finds a rather non-conducive environment in the country to introduce new technology in BT cotton.

Bob Reiter, global head of research and development, Bayer Crop Science division  (earlier with Monsanto) told journalists in Monheim, Germany, "We have technology in the lab that we know will be helpful in the Indian market but we cannot afford to bring them to the market that does not service our business and ultimately serve our customers."

"The reality around whole discussion around BT cotton is that as a company we cannot serve a market if it will not pay for the invention we try to bring to the market...the challenge in India has been that the government has stepped into, I would say, a conflict that started with licencees and became more complex."

That is not all. According to him, nobody can make money in the trait market and would make even less money in seed market in India, which is not suitable for the market and customers as well.

"It has forced a situation where if this is how we are going to be compensated for technology and innovation, we just fundamentally cannot do it and this is a great disappointment," he adds.

On BT cotton, Reiter says, the products will need to be replaced overtime as nature is a powerful force and will figure out a way to survive against something that is not designed for it.

Responding to a question from Business Today on the investments that it intends to make on newer technologies now that Bayer and Monsanto are coming together globally, Liam Condon, member of the board of Bayer AG and president of Crop Science division, gives a ballpark figure of a combined sales of 20 billion euros. This means about 2 billion euro R&D budget along with 8,000 scientists and other cross-functional experts they will be working with.

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