Multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer has launched “Better Farms, Better Lives” – an initiative to assist smallholder farmers in Africa facing additional challenges resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic.
The company will provide seeds to farmers and give them market access.To reach all the targeted farmers, it will work with governments, recognized NGOs and local organizations to provide accelerated access to agronomy services and knowledge. This will also help to scale up existing and new value chain partnerships and further expand value chain partnerships across Africa.
The company says it intends to boost food security by supporting up to 700,000 smallholder farmers. The programme will be flagged off in Nairobi Kenya and will be implemented in Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zimbabwe
“Smallholder farmers are essential to providing food security to a billion people in Africa, but the on-going pandemic is placing extra challenges on their ability to produce food for their communities and beyond,” says Liam Condon, President of Bayer’s Crop Science Division.
“We are focused on providing smallholder farmers with the help they need to address immediate challenges while building resilience for the future, and working to ensure the pandemic does not turn from a health crisis to a hunger crisis,” quips Klaus Eckstein, Head of Africa, Crop Science Division.
In Kenya, Bayer will collaborate with Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and County Governments to distribute 300 metric tones of Bayer’s Dekalb corn seed brand and Seminis vegetables seeds brand to ten Counties including Bungoma, Tana River, Machakos and Narok. Kshs.93 million worth of seeds will be distributed among 200,000 smallholder farmers in the ten counties.
“Together with partners, we aim to multiply the social and economic impact smallholder farmers can have in tackling poverty and hunger, improving health and livelihoods, and, ultimately, spurring economic development for their families, communities and nations,” adds Laurent Perrier, Managing Director Bayer East Africa Limited.