Bayer CropScience of Research Triangle Park, N.C., has endowed the newly created Center for Global Produce Sustainability with $1.1 million during the next four years.

The center will be housed within the United Fresh Research and Education Foundation, which is the non-profit arm of the United Fresh Produce Association, according to a news release.

An advisory board comprising leaders from the fruit and vegetable industry will guide the center.

“In this particular market, understanding the views of the entire food production supply chain is critical to producing enough safe and affordable food for the ever expanding world while protecting and enhancing the environment for the future,” John Smith, director of the Bayer CropScience's horticulture region, said in the release. “We cannot achieve our goal alone which is why this center will focus on enhancing relationships between fruit and vegetable growers, the food chain and research partners in the U.S. and globally to ensure meaningful dialogue and advances with regard to sustainability.”

During the next year, the center will develop a strategic plan about how it can best serve the industry. As part of that, the center will launch a Web site to exchange information and conduct a baseline survey of industry needs.

During year two, the center will focus on developing initiatives that can provide sustainable benefits to growers and others along the supply chain.