By Yasinta Amos in Arusha
AS the country ushers into New Year 2021 more than 100,600 smallholder farmers in the country will be receiving grain and vegetable seeds’ grants worth US$ 493,500 to assist them in sustainable food production.
Through its new “Better Farms, Better Lives” initiative, Bayer, a life-science oriented multinational company will run the programme for the next 12 months, starting this month and it will cover 25 districts in the Mainland Tanzania.
Bayer will complement its current commitment of supporting smallholder farmers in Africa, by providing them with free hybrid corn and vegetable seeds.
The boost, according to Bayer Tanzania Manager Frank Wenga, is meant to assist them to combat effects of global Covid- 19 pandemic, which caused series of global food shortage crisis in the previous year.
“Smallholder farmers are essential in providing food security to billions of people, but the on-going Covid-19 pandemic is placing extra challenges on their ability to produce food for their communities and beyond,” said Liam Condon, President of Bayer’s Crop Science Division.
Also targeting to assist more than 700,000 small scale farmers across the African continent, Bayer’s ‘Better Farms, Better Lives,’ programme also aims at providing assistance with market access to the growers in line with Bayer’s overall aspiration in building a world, where there is ‘Health for All, Hunger for None’.
This special food security programme was launched at Bayer Life Science Tanzania offices in Njiro, Arusha by the Executive Director of the Tanzania Seed Trade Association Bob Shuma.
The programme, though flagged off in Arusha, will be implemented in eight countries across the continent, including, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
The initiative focuses on providing smallholder farmers with the assistance needed to address the additional challenges they may be facing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
To ensure maximum impact, Bayer will work and expand its partnerships with governments, recognised NGOs and local organisations; to provide accelerated access to agronomy services and knowledge; scale up existing and new value chain partnerships and further expand value chain partnerships across Africa.
“In line with our vision ‘Health for All, Hunger for None’, Bayer is focusing on providing smallholder farmers with the help they need to address immediate challenges, while building resilience for the future, and working to ensure the Covid-19 pandemic does not turn from a health crisis to a hunger crisis,” noted Klaus Eckstein, Head of Africa, Crop Science Division.
In Tanzania, Bayer will collaborate with Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and with the Agriculture Council of Tanzania (ACT) to distribute 200 metric tonnes of Bayer’s Dekalb corn and 100 gramme of Seminis vegetables seeds brand all valued at US $493,500 to 25 districts among them Meru, Songea, Iringa and Kondoa.
“Together with partners, we aim to multiply the social and economic impacts of smallholder farmers in tackling poverty and hunger, improving health and livelihoods and, ultimately, spurring economic development for their families, communities and nations,” added Bayer East Africa Limited Managing Director, Laurent Perrier.
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 at increasing its earning power and creating 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 year 2019, the group employed around 104,000 people and had sales of 43.5 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.9 billion euros, research and development expenses to 5.3 billion euros.