Bayer CropScience today renewed its commitment to working in strong collaborations with partners from governments, the industry and non-governmental organizations to help enhance global food security and economic development. “Innovation and partnerships are needed to achieve food security,” said Bayer CropScience CEO Liam Condon at a high-level press conference with Dirk Niebel, Germany’ Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, and Bill Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in Berlin, Germany.
Speaking on behalf of the industry partners in the new “German Food Partnership” (GFP) initiative, which brings together some 35 companies and associations from the agricultural industry and the food chain, Condon pointed out that a holistic approach is urgently needed to develop and implement long-term projects to foster rural development and improve food security and nutrition. “The ultimate objective is to empower farmers in emerging economies to sustainably intensify their agricultural production,” he added. The GFP, established in July 2012, is a broad and results-oriented coalition between the private and the public sectors.
Project flagship “Asian German Better Rice Initiative”
One of the first concrete and long-term initiatives under the GFP umbrella, the “Asian German Better Rice Initiative” (AGBRI), was established by Bayer CropScience and several industry partners along with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Supported by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Global Alliance for Improved Nutriton (GAIN) and the German Development Institute (DIE), this initiative aims to improve the rice value chain and nutrition in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, the main Southeast Asian rice-producing and -consuming countries.
Under the umbrella of AGBRI, smallholder farmers will have access to education and advisory services, management skills, agricultural know-how and modern technologies – high-quality seeds, fertilizers, innovative crop protection solutions and water management – resulting in increased productivity and incomes. “A special focus is also on the promotion of young farmers to sustain the rice sector for the future,” added Condon. Another main goal is to improve the nutritional status of urban and rural populations in Asia by securing the supply of vital micronutrients through the fortification of rice and oil seeds and by exploring the field of nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions.
“AGBRI is a project with fantastic potential: it encompasses strategic innovation investments, the long-term empowerment of farmers and particularly smallholders, a stronger focus on climate-smart solutions, enhanced nutrition and improved partnerships,” emphasized Condon. “It is precisely these types of initiatives between the private and public sectors that will help pave the way for a Greener Revolution.”
The survival of millions of people depends on rice. That is why Bayer CropScience is constantly working to improve the yields of this staple food. The company has been present in all major rice-growing countries for many years and is familiar with local cultivation practices in most Asian countries.