Ronald Guendel

Training Smallholder Farmers in Sustainable Farming Practices

How can we help cocoa farmers in Africa or vegetable farmers in Guatemala to grow safe and healthy food and bring their produce to market? With its Food Chain Partnership initiative, Bayer takes several approaches to support farmers worldwide in running sustainable, profitable farms.

Ten thousand smallholder farmers – that’s an incredible number. And this is the number of growers we have trained in a single collaboration with the San Juan Agroexport farming business, one of the largest exporters of fresh vegetables from Guatemala. As a result of our training, the farmers learned more about safe use of crop protection products and sustainability management – very important factors. What’s more, another outcome of this project was increased yields, improved post-harvest performance, and the fact that San Juan Agroexport is now better able to meet export requirements.

We also have success stories to tell in other regions; for instance in the Ivory Coast, where we help cocoa farmers greatly increase their efficiency by implementing integrated crop solutions. The project involves 24 Ivorian agricultural cooperatives with around 16,800 farmers cultivating a total of 50,400 hectares. First trials have shown that cocoa yields could be increased significantly – and the trading and processing companies are pleased with the high quality of the produce.

Ronald Guendel
Ronald Guendel
Ronald Guendel,
Global Head of Food Chain Relations at Bayer Division Crop Science

More choice for consumers

These achievements are great successes for farming businesses – but they are also a success for the value chain because new capacities are being developed. Let me explain why: many processors have a global footprint, which means they already have existing supply chains. Due to the ever-growing world population, they need to constantly build up new ones. They must therefore reach out to farmers. And that’s where we as Bayer Food Chain Partnership step in. With our agronomic expertise and certification program and support, we help processors, traders, and retailers create sustainable, high-quality, and safe supply chains, which in the end benefits consumers worldwide.

Farmers need to adapt to growing challenges

A key element in all our projects is helping farmers run a profitable farm, especially with changing climatic conditions such as long periods of drought. Furthermore, new resistant pests and diseases have emerged in recent years. All these alarming developments lead to one conclusion: farmers need to adapt their farming practices to the new circumstances. In my opinion, farmers should further enhance their knowledge and skills, especially in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, in order to increase their yields and the quality of their produce – particularly if they want to export their produce to foreign markets.

Ronald Guendel - Training Smallholder Farmers in Sustainable Farming Practices
Ronald Guendel - Training Smallholder Farmers in Sustainable Farming Practices
Bayer supports farmers around the world to be both more effective and more sustainable by implementing customized agronomic solutions.

Certification enables farmers to market their produce

Food Chain Partnership not only gives agronomic support; we also help our partnering farmers get certified or verified. We invite smallholder and mid-sized farmers to join our BayG.A.P. Service Program, which supports them in achieving certification. In intense group training courses, farmers learn how crop protection products are used properly, for example, and how work safety rules can protect them. BayG.A.P. is a first step toward receiving international certification – such as GLOBALG.A.P. – in the future.

To put it in a nutshell, Bayer Food Chain Partnership’s holistic approach has successfully proven how it has contributed to developing new and sustainably grown capacities in the past 12 years. In total, we have 524 initiatives, in over 40 countries, covering 76 different crops. That is something we are really proud of!

Learn more about Food Chain Partnership here.

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