Analyzing the status quo and innovation potential of the agricultural location North Rhine-Westphalia

The agri-food sector is facing enormous challenges worldwide, stemming from diverse societal goals and changing market and production realities. Mastering these complex demands and challenges requires innovative ideas and new solutions from all involved actors of the agricultural sector, also in the in the upstream and downstream business areas. But what is the current state of innovation in the agri-food sector and its ability to continue and even increase such innovation?


This question was examined in our new HFFA Research publication by focusing on the example of the German federal state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The objective of the project was to describe and analyze the innovation potential of the agricultural location NRW in a comprehensive manner.


The following partial aspects are presented in the report:

  1. a descriptive analysis of the status quo for the actual agricultural sector in NRW, including a measurement of the total factor productivity of the sector;
  2. a meta-analysis (literature research) of the sub-sectors of the agricultural value chain, including
    • upstream sectors: plant breeding, agrochemistry (i.e. plant protection and plant nutrition), agricultural technology and the complex of animal nutrition;
    • downstream sectors: food industry and retail trade with foodstuffs, including wholesale and non-food sectors;
  1. a description of the innovation cluster „agriculture and agribusiness“ based on parameters of the university landscape and research institutions in NRW, as well as an inventory of policies that promote and, if applicable, also inhibit innovation;
  2. a summary analysis of strengths and weaknesses as well as of the potential for the agricultural sector and the agribusiness cluster (upstream and downstream sectors of the value chain), including a qualitative assessment of growth generation and competitiveness in NRW.

Against this background, the report provides reliable indicative statements on the status quo and future prospects of NRW as a location for agriculture and innovation, with the aim to contribute to the broader public discussion on how to promote innovation along the agri-food chain.


The project was conducted in collaboration with a team from the Ruhr-Forschungsinstitut für Innovations- und Strukturpolitik (Rufis) e.V., consisting of Prof. Dr. Helmut Karl and Prof. Dr. Dieter Hecht. The study was commissioned by Bayer Crop Science Deutschland GmbH. The full publication (in German language) can be downloaded here.


For more information about the project, please contact or