This demand for more food is being challenged by limited expansion of arable land and a decline in yield growth, he said.

Frank Terhorst, head of Bayer’s strategic business management for fruits and vegetables and insecticides, said Bayer is applying advancing technology to meet the challenge of feeding a growing world.

One way of doing that is in developing products that reduce fresh produce waste by extending the vitality of fresh produce with products like Bayer’s new fungicide Luna which has proven to dramatically extend the shelf life of produce.

Like other major agchem corporations, Bayer is investing heavily in the seed business, particularly vegetable seeds. It recently acquired the Abbott and Cobb melon business. Scheitza said Bayer’s goal is to double its share of the seed business by 2016.

Bayer is deeply involved in biotechnology with GMO crops like corn, soybean, cotton and canola. However, GMO was not part of the vegetable future form.

Asked about the role GMO technology might play in fruit and vegetable research and development, Terhorst said because there are so many different varieties even in one class of vegetables, like tomatoes, the investment to develop GMO trait vegetables is too great to generate a profitable return.