Access to Seeds Index ranks Bayer 2nd on efforts to support smallholder farmers in Asia

During the 25th Asian Seed Congress, the Access to Seeds Foundation will present its first Regional Index for South & Southeast Asia in Manila, the Philippines. Out of the 24 seed companies evaluated for their activities in 2016/17, Bayer was ranked No. 2, showing “consistently high scores across all measurement areas,” the Index reports.

“We are proud that our efforts to grant smallholder farmers access to high-quality seeds and help them grow their businesses are recognized,” said Jens Hartmann, Head of the Asia Pacific Region for the Crop Science Division of Bayer. “Companies like Bayer play an important role in improving access to seeds for farmers in emerging markets like South and Southeast Asia. The ranking shows we are on the right track, and motivates us to do even better in the future. We already leverage our deep experience in rice, millet and cotton. With the integration of Monsanto, we aim to expand our global footprint in vegetables and corn, as well as tailored digital services.”

Bayer was especially noted for its genetic resource contributions, efforts to support sustainable rice production practices, its focus on providing training for women as well as the company’s Child Care Program, which is entering its second decade of operation in India. Other examples for Bayer’s good practices include its work with the HarvestPlus program, its Sahyog Project and the Better Life Farming Alliance:

  • As part of HarvestPlus, Bayer researchers in India are developing a hybrid pearl millet with particularly high iron content to help meet nutritional needs of the rural communities.
  • Within Project Sahyog, Bayer provided hybrid rice seed to remote villagers in India, assisting them to move towards a formal seed market with more secure and sustainable incomes.
  • Within the Better Life Farming Alliance, Bayer, together with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Netafim and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), offers smallholder farmers agro inputs, irrigation, finance and access to market, tailoring solutions to their needs.

Rice is the number one food in Asia, and growing it demands a lot of manual labor from small farmers. Bayer offers tailored solutions to rice farmers, saving them time and labor and securing harvests. (photo Bayer)

“Smallholder farmers need to not only produce more food, but at the same time adapt their agricultural practices to changing weather conditions or newly emerging pests as a result of climate change,” said Amit Trikha, Head of Crop Management (Rice) for Bayer. “With our quality seed, tailored solutions and digital services, we can help them overcome the challenges they are facing every day.”

The former Monsanto Company was ranked 10th in the Regional Access to Seeds Index with special reference to its geographically diverse capacity building activities reaching smallholders in Indonesia, Vietnam and India. The Climate Corporation, now a subsidiary of Bayer AG, is currently delivering hundreds of thousands of farmers in India agronomic information and advice through a pilot launch of FarmRise™ Mobile Farm Care. The company intends to expand the FarmRise platform in the future to more smallholders in Asia, Africa and South America.

The Access to Seeds Index is published by the Access to Seeds Foundation, an independent, non-profit organization that is an ally of the World Benchmarking Alliance and is based in The Netherlands. The Index aims to encourage seed companies to step up their efforts to support smallholder farmer productivity. The index scores companies in several areas. It looks at the strategy and targets in place to reach smallholders, stakeholder engagement, and how companies deal with intellectual property rights. It also looks at efforts in research and breeding, marketing and capacity-building of farmers. The index is based on publicly available information and a questionnaire that companies were asked to complete.

Improving the productivity of smallholder farmers is one of the main targets on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals agenda (SDGs). By measuring the seed industry’s performance, the Access to Seeds Index aims to contribute to achieving these goals.

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2017, the Group employed around 99,800 people and had sales of EUR 35.0 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.4 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.5 billion.

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