Rural development

The smartest contribution we can make to reducing worldwide poverty and hunger is to help small farm families grow more food and earn more income.
Rural development
Three-quarters of the world’s poorest people get their food and income from farming small plots of land - typically the size of a football field or smaller - and most of them labor under difficult conditions. They grow a diversity of local crops and must deal with diseases, pests, and drought, as well as poor soil. Their livestock are frequently weak or sick, resulting in reduced production of eggs and milk to eat or sell.

Agricultural development is two to four times more effective at reducing hunger and poverty than any other sector, and that development benefits everyone: when farmers have more income, they can send their children to school, invest more in their farms, and produce more nutritious food for the whole society. Here is how we contribute to agricultural development around the world.

Improving farmers' income

Cotton
Across India, our projects help farmers raise productivity to improve their livelihood. To the 90 million small farmers in India, a football field represents a lot of land and they usually make do with much less.

We support cotton farmers in Rajasthan by supplying seed and the expertise for efficient crop protection. As a result, they have doubled their yields. At the same time, the introduction of insect-resistant BT cotton has reduced the number of applications of insecticides and this reduced the costs for the farmers.

In Karnataka, we help farmers produce better cucumbers. This has boosted their income up to 15 percent. In two other Indian states, we promote the use of hybrid rice, which yields up to 30 per cent more and thus also improves farmers' income.

New vision for agriculture

We all want a reliable supply of food and better economic opportunities for ourselves and our families. Without food security and prosperity, there is uncertainty and strife where there should be peace.

The key is agriculture, which drives economic growth and provides a livelihood for more than 2.5 billion people worldwide. To meet the urgent global challenges of the future, we believe there is a need to bring together everyone with a stake in the food value chain – from seed suppliers to consumers.

As part of that collaboration, we are working with the World Economic Forum's New Vision for Agriculture initiative, which aims to achieve sustainable agricultural growth through an innovative partnership model involving public and private stakeholders.

The three main objectives are to deliver food security, promote environmental sustainability and improve economic opportunity.  In short, the aim is to feed our hungry planet.

Grow Africa partnership

Improving farmers' income
No other continent depends on agriculture as much as Africa. More than 60 per cent of that continent's working population is employed in agriculture. And yet food security is still not guaranteed.

As part of the Grow Africa partnership, we have joined 48 other companies and the G8 nations to form the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. The companies involved in this initiative have committed three billion dollars of investment in African agriculture. The aim is to strengthen food security and improve farmers' income, while ensuring sustainability.

Increasing productivity

Boosting productivity of the agricultural sector in emerging and developing countries requires close collaboration between government and the private sector. In Germany, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in June 2012 put together an initiative on food security in emerging and developing companies. Bayer CropScience is a founding member and the initiative will - in the words of Liam Condon, CEO of Bayer CropScience -  ‘make a sustainable contribution to strengthening food security for our hungry planet.'

Specifically, it harnesses the expertise of companies to address the agricultural productivity gap in emerging and developing countries. Local food value chains are strengthened, with supply chains made more efficient and sustainable. This is how we stabilize food production and availability for the people who need it the most.

Shaping model villages

Shaping model villages
In discussion with villagers in India
We have contracts with cotton seed producers across several hundred villages in India. They are the initial focus of our Model Village project. Farmers will be offered crop insurance schemes and we’ll make it easier for them to access the market without the middle men. At the same time, we'll improve education and training opportunities for their children and pass on our knowledge of sustainable farming practices to boost productivity; practices such as drip irrigation which will – according to project initiator Dr. Uwe Brekau – ‘achieve a further significant increase in productivity on our contract farms.’

Preventing child labor

Preventing child labor
Educational opportunities as the key to a better future - a core element of the Bayer CropScience Child Care Program.
Our stance on child labor is unequivocal. We will not employ children, nor will we accept our suppliers doing so. At Bayer CropScience, we follow a strict zero tolerance to child labor policy.

However, bans have proved to be an ineffective means of prevention. If we’re to systematically eradicate child labor, we need to fundamentally change the way people think.

In India, our Learning for Life initiative covers everything from reintegrating children into the regular school system to vocational training measures. Together with the Naandi Foundation, we run daycare centers for pre-schoolers and offer special assistance to weaker school students to stop them breaking off their education. We also work with local non-governmental organizations and school authorities to offer vocational classes and enhance the appeal of attending school.

At the Bayer-Ramanaidu Vignana Jyothi School of Agriculture in Hyderabad, we train young people aged above 15 years as farm assistants in half year full day courses.

More than 3,400 students have already benefited in some way from the Learning for Life initiative.

Combating malaria

Combating malaria
The LifeNet™ mosquito net from Bayer remains effective even after 30 washes.
If small farmers contract malaria, the livelihood of entire families can be at risk. This is when children often step in to provide for their families.

Combating malaria therefore helps to secure the future of the people who live in these regions - a future without this dreaded disease and without child labor.

We’re taking a multi-pronged approach to fighting malaria. We've introduced impregnated mosquito nets (LifeNet™), which are softer, stronger and longer-lasting than conventional bednets. And we're working to identify a new class of compounds for the Malaria Vector Control to fight resistance against the established products. One strategy for effectively controlling the insects is to selectively block their odor receptors.
Empowering Small Farmers around the world
Empowering Small Farmers around the world

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