Germany-based Bayer CropScience, a leading crop protection and science company, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Cuu Long Rice Research Institute to create a research platform for sustainable crop solutions for the Mekong Delta in the face of climate change.

The signing on April 5 coincided with the visit of Sandra E. Peterson, Bayer's chairwoman, who was in Long An province that day to inspect the results of Bayer's Much More Rice programme in co-operation with local farmers.

The programme, launched four years ago and expanded two years later, seeks to improve rice yield and quality and farmers' incomes through the integrated application of seed treatment and insecticides.

Peterson told the media that the world would require a 30 percent increase in rice production to feed itself by 2020.

She pointed to the implications of climate change, population growth, and declining arable land to demonstrate the need to significantly increase agricultural productivity. "We need a second ‘Green Revolution' in agriculture that requires all the tools available, including crop protection, better seeds, and advanced breeding technology," she said.

Rob Hulme, country head of Bayer CropScience Vietnam , said more than 320 separate trials have testified to the efficiency of the Much More Rice programme both in terms of reduced inputs and increased productivity.

"Productivity and profit have increased by 10 percent and 20 percent respectively," he said.

The programme has also thrown up Arize, a hybrid rice variety developed by Bayer which is resistant to pests, diseases, and extreme climate and has high yield potential, and provided training to farmers in new agricultural techniques. /.