Project “Bridging the Seed Gap”:
Bayer supports access to high-quality vegetable seeds for smallholder farmers in Ethiopia
Collaboration with the non-profit organization “Fair Planet” / Training for farmers with minimal changes to traditional practices
Monheim/Dire Dawa (Ethiopia) – Bayer has signed a cooperation with the non-profit organization “Fair Planet” and will participate in the “Bridging the Seed Gap” project in Ethiopia on February 12, 2016. The project is designed to provide new opportunities to smallholder farmers. The signing took place today on the trial fields of the project at Dire Dawa, a city to the east of the capital Addis Ababa, and in Dire Dawa itself in the presence of stakeholders from the Ethiopian government, Haramaya University and farmers.
The “Bridging the Seed Gap” project is a unique and long-term technology transfer process established by Fair Planet in collaboration with leading global vegetable seed companies, national and international stakeholders such as governments, universities and farmers’ unions, and public and private donors. The project gives smallholder farmers facilitated access to seed of high-quality vegetable varieties that are suitable for their needs. At the same time, it supplies training to the farmers on how to use these seeds with minimal changes to their traditional production practices. Trained farmers will have better prospects of growing and selling significant crop yields and will benefit from economic growth.
Bayer will participate at all four project locations through its Vegetable Seeds organization. In addition to Dire Dawa, similar projects are being developed in Harar, Butajira and Gondar. During the 2016 growing seasons, selected varieties from the Nunhems tomato, hot pepper and onion range will be tested in variety and cultivation trials. In 2017, the best-performing varieties from Bayer and the other vegetable seed companies will be cultivated by selected smallholder farmers who will demonstrate the advantages to other farmers in their own villages and regions.
“Access to high-quality vegetable seed varieties and know-how is essential to improve the economic growth of smallholder farmers in Ethiopia,” explains Vicente Navarro, Managing Director M&S of Vegetable Seeds. “But this can only be successful with a holistic approach and through collaboration. We believe in the setup that Fair Planet has created. We will leverage local empowerment with our seeds and knowledge.”
Adds Dr. Shoshan Haran, Founder and Operations Manager of Fair Planet, “With our project that was established in collaboration with leading vegetable seed companies, we aim to improve the quality of life of smallholder farmers through access to high quality seed and by showing improved cultivation techniques with minimal changes to traditional practices. We are extremely pleased that Bayer is joining our open aid platform, which is a unique phenomenon in the vegetable seed industry. By connecting local authorities, universities, farmers’ unions with smallholder farmers and with the support of global seed companies, we can bridge the seed gap.”
Bayer: Science For A Better Life
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 2014, the Group employed around 119,000 people and had sales of EUR 42.2 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.5 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 3.6 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
About Fair Planet
Fair Planet is an Israeli non-profit organization whose mission is to increase food and nutrition security and provide new economic opportunities for smallholder farmers in developing countries. This will be accomplished by making high-quality vegetable varieties that are suitable for local conditions accessible and affordable to smallholder farmers. Fair Planet is supported by KKL-JNF, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO-FDOV), Netafim, Limagrain, Syngenta, Enza Zaden, East-West Seed and Bayer. For more information, go to www.fairplanetseeds.com.
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