Bengaluru, NFAPost: To support smallholder farmers who are facing additional challenges due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Bayer has introduced a new initiative – ‘Better Farms, Better Lives’.

Through this initiative, Bayer will support 4,00,000 smallholder farmers in India, with free Better Life Farming care packages. In Karnataka, Bayer will support nearly 36,300 smallholder farmers cultivating corn, millet and vegetables. Special focus will be given to women smallholder farmers and migrant labourers who have returned to their villages and plan to take up farming in their small family farms.

Each smallholder farmer will receive one package containing hybrid seeds cultivated in their region and crop protection inputs. In addition, Bayer will handhold farmers from sowing to harvest with advisory on crop, disease and pest management and help improve market access for their produce.

The package will also contain face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) to support farmers’ health & safety needs. Besides distribution of packages, Bayer will provide training to farmers to improve capacity building on the use of modern agricultural technologies.

Karnataka Chief Minister of Karnataka B S Yediyurappa kicked off the distribution of Bayer’s Better Life Farming care packages in the state today.

Speaking about the initiative, Karnataka Chief Minister of Karnataka B S Yediyurappa said farmers are the backbone of the economy and their efforts provide food for the community.

“In the current Covid-19 pandemic and with Kharif season around the corner, farmers have limited access to seeds & inputs. At such a time, Bayer has come forward and worked closely with my government to provide free seeds to smallholder farmers and ensure continuity of the cropping season. This will definitely help improve farmers’ lives & livelihoods,” said Karnataka Chief Minister of Karnataka B S Yediyurappa.

Bayer CropScience Limited CEO and Global Lead for Bayer’s Smallholder Farming initiatives D Narain said with the ‘Better Farms, Better Lives’ initiative, Bayer will provide immediate additional support to smallholder farmers in Karnataka with access to agri-inputs and advisory during this Kharif season and beyond.

“This will help strengthen the livelihoods of smallholder communities most impacted by Covid-19. In the long-term, we aim to help smallholder farmers achieve higher crop yields and use their farms as a source of sustainable income, rather than just a means to survive,” said Bayer CropScience Limited CEO and Global Lead for Bayer’s Smallholder Farming initiatives D Narain.

Shankargowda Patil, Senior Political Advisor to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka, also shared his views saying during these tough times for farmers, the state government and Bayer work together for distributing free seeds to smallholder farmers.

“It has been a pleasure working with Bayer towards achieving the common goal of supporting farmers to secure their lives and sustain livelihoods,” said Shankargowda Patil.

Bayer will distribute the care packages to smallholder farmers through its network of local Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) and local Self-Help Groups (SHGs) focused on agriculture. At a later stage, Bayer will conduct third-party impact assessment studies to evaluate the value created through this initiative in terms of food security and livelihood support.

The ‘Better Farms, Better Lives’ initiative complements Bayer’s ongoing smallholder support activities, which will aid in mid-term recovery and building long-term resilience for smallholder farmers. Additionally, Bayer will expand its partnerships with governments, internationally recognized NGOs and local organizations; create a Smallholder Center of Excellence for sharing successes; provide accelerated access to digital farming tools to increase capabilities and scale up existing & new value chain partnerships to generate maximum impact.

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth.

Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2019, the Group employed around 104,000 people and had sales of € 43.5 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to € 2.9 billion and R&D expenses to € 5.3 billion.

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