The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) and Bayer CropScience announced a new partnership at Citrus Expo. In an effort to discover new technologies to manage citrus greening disease, CRDF will invest $12 million with Bayer over a three-year period. Bayer will focus on product research and development of both biological and chemical controls.
Adrian Percy, head of research and development for Bayer CropScience, says the partnership is an opportunity to bring new tools to citrus growers in Florida to combat this very difficult disease. While the initial agreement is for three years, he hopes the partnership will be extended beyond that.
Percy says the partnership will enable Bayer to dedicate scientists to working on the HLB effort. “We will use our entire R&D (research and development) organization and all the capabilities we have in terms of laboratories, research, registration activities and intellectual property activities to support this effort. So we’ll be making an in-kind contribution as well.”
Harold Browning, chief operations officer of CRDF, describes Bayer’s willingness and efforts to find HLB solutions as “a home run for the citrus industry.” He added that Tropicana/PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have made a financial commitment to CRDF that have enabled the partnership with Bayer to exist.
Tom Jerkins, president of CRDF, also spoke at the the press conference. He described the two main areas of HLB research that scientists are working on as therapeutic compounds and new genetics. Bayer’s efforts will focus on new compounds to suppress and control citrus greening. The objective is to test products in citrus groves and then proceed with the registration process to get actual products into the market.
“We recognize that some of the money is coming from citrus growers themselves, and it’s a big, big responsibility on our side. We recognize the urgency of getting new products out there, so we’ll be putting our best efforts behind us,” concludes Percy.
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