Bayer Foundation creates EUR 20 million Social Innovation ecosystem for African smallholder farmers

EUR 3 million awarded today to four social innovators to generate entrepreneurial opportunities in agriculture and health for African smallholder farmers and increase their income / Social Innovation ecosystem is a key step towards Bayer’s goal to improve the living conditions of 100 million smallholder farmers including their family members by 2030.

The Bayer Foundation today launched its new EUR 20 million Social Innovation ecosystem fund by awarding EUR 3 million to four pioneering social innovators – myAgro, MercyCorps, Path and Living Goods. The fund aims to scale up technology and entrepreneurial solutions that empower African smallholder farmers to lift themselves out of poverty.

Bayer’s four awardees will provide over 1 million people in African farmer households with access to entrepreneurial solutions that increase their crop yields and access to health services. Today’s investment fuels Bayer’s objective to improve the lives of 100 million people – smallholder farmers and their family members – by 2030.

“With our funding, we aim to provide health and agricultural expertise and services to smallholder farmer communities via local organizations”, said Monika Lessl, Executive Director of the Bayer Foundation, speaking at Bayer’s first Social Innovation Day, which convened social entrepreneurs, NGOs, corporations, funders, government representatives and academia in Berlin to build partnerships (more information at www.bayersocialinnovation.com). Lessl added: “The support will enable smallholder farmers to further develop their entrepreneurial ideas, create jobs and increase their income. This can only be achieved in a systems’ approach, which is why we are building an inclusive ecosystem of cross-sector partnerships.”

The four awardees will use the funding to scale innovative nutrition and health programs across Senegal, Mali and Uganda. myAgro will train 200,000 smallholder farmers in Mali and Senegal to increase their yields, and provide health interventions, including de-worming and nutrition trainings, for 250,000 children in farming households. MercyCorps will deploy a revolutionary data platform based on weather, GPS and crop type to connect 200,000 smallholder farmers with farming input providers. Living Goods will train 350 community health workers in Uganda to reach 280,000 families, strengthening the country’s health system. Path will deploy a program to fight malaria in the Tambacounda region in Senegal. This initiative will reach 125,000 people directly and 700,000 via TV spots, as part of its effort to eliminate malaria in these farming communities.

Liam Condon, Member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and President of the Crop Science Division, said: “These social entrepreneurs have developed innovative and inclusive business models that will enable smallholder farmers, who currently have little purchasing power, to develop and to drive the development of local markets. This is a huge step towards lifting their communities out of poverty.”

Progress so far:
Today’s (September 3, 2019) announcement builds on existing social innovation partnerships. Bayer’s collaboration with myAgro has boosted the income and productivity of 46000 smallholder farmers. Bayer has also collaborated with One Acre Fund to advance two program innovations for smallholder farmers in Kenya and Rwanda: an improved poultry delivery model, which has already delivered hybrid chickens to an estimated 33,000 farmers through partnerships with local brooders, and the expansion of digital technologies within One Acre Fund’s program, improving their services for over 600000 smallholder farmers this year.

Caption courtesy by Bayer


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 2018, the Group employed around 117000 people and had sales of EUR 39.6 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 5.2 billion. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.

About Bayer Foundation
The Bayer Foundation’s mission is to identify, foster and scale the brightest minds and the best ideas in science and social innovation to help provide impactful solutions for the world’s biggest challenges in health and agriculture. The nexus between frontier research and the entrepreneurial spirit of social innovation lies within Bayer’s purpose “Science For A Better Life”. Bayer Foundation’s recognition awards and support programs honor world-class scientific research, and also support young academic talents. Beyond large scale projects with powerful globally active organizations, Bayer Foundation also supports social-impact startups and passionate social entrepreneurs building on cross-sector partnerships that foster social innovation and societal progress in developing countries. The Bayer Foundation implements its activities through the Bayer Science and Education Foundation and the Bayer Cares Foundation.

About myAgro
myAgro is a non-profit social enterprise based in Mali, Senegal, and Tanzania, that has pioneered a mobile layaway model that enables farmers to invest their own funds in high-quality seed, fertilizer, tools and agricultural training to significantly increase their harvests and income. The program is delivering 50-100% increases in yields and 50%+ increases in incomes for smallholder farmers. This year myAgro worked with more than 60,000 farmers and helped move more than 600,000 people out of poverty. For more information, visit www.myagro.org.

About MercyCorps
Mercy Corps is a global team of humanitarians who partner with communities, corporations and governments to transform lives around the world. The mission: to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. Mercy Corps’ 5,500+ team members work with people in the world’s most vulnerable communities across 40+ countries. 87 percent of their team is from the countries where they work. Thanks to its donors, Mercy Corps has provided USD 4 billion in lifesaving assistance to more than 220 million people over the last 39 years. Mercy Corps believes we must go beyond emergency aid to create more resilient communities, and that communities are the best agents of their own change. For more information, visit www.mercycorps.org.

About PATH
PATH is a global organization that works to accelerate health equity by bringing together public institutions, businesses, social enterprises, and investors to solve the world’s most pressing health challenges. With expertise in science, health, economics, technology, advocacy, and dozens of other specialties, PATH develops and scales solutions –including vaccines, drugs, devices, diagnostics, and innovative approaches to strengthening health systems worldwide. Learn more at www.path.org.

About Living Goods
Founded in 2007, Living Goods is a non-profit that aims to save lives at scale by supporting digitally empowered community health workers. We work with governments and partners to leverage smart mobile technology, rigorously strengthen performance, and relentlessly innovate to cost-effectively deliver high quality, impactful health services. At the end of 2018, Living Goods was supporting nearly 9,000 CHWs to deliver care to more than 7.1 million people. For more information, visit www.livinggoods.org