The first-ever virtual Safe Use Ambassador conference themed “Appreciate and Advance together!” brought together various stakeholders like university scientists, researchers, students, regulatory officials, ministries, farmers, and Bayer colleagues.
|Liam Condon during his opening speech at Bayer first-ever Safe Use Ambassador virtual conference |
The event, organised by Bayer – a German multinational life science company – was able to connect with more than 2,000 people from 14 countries, of whom more than 750 actively engaged in the conference.
Under the umbrella of safe use of crop protection products (CPPs) the conference was opened by Liam Condon, member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG, who emphasised Bayer’s responsibility to ensure safety for consumers and customers to fulfill the company’s ambitious vision “Health for all, Hunger for none”.
|Sustainability is at the core of Bayer's business and is greatly supported by establishing partnerships as well as developing proactive stewardship measures. |
Accordingly, performing trainings on the safe use of CPPs is a fundamental part of the company’s stewardship strategy. In low- and middle-income countries, one of the most pressing issues is the protection of farmers and operators while using CPPs. Several reasons could lead to the improper use of CPPs, for instance, lack of awareness of farmers, and lack of legal frameworks on the use of CPPs and training requirements.
Sustainability is at the core of Bayer's business and is greatly supported by establishing partnerships as well as developing proactive stewardship measures. Programmes like the Safe Use Ambassador that combine those two elements are very valuable.
In a survey conducted with university scientists and researchers before the conference most responses confirmed that the crop protection industry along with governments, the academia, and farming communities play a key role in ensuring the safe use of CPPs. Most attendees agreed that safe use trainings and the provision of proper information material is among the favoured solutions. Another measure to improve operator and worker safety is to make affordable personal protective equipment available to farmers.
At the virtual conference, external partners, Prof. Dr. Asif Ali from MNS University (Multan, Pakistan) and Dr. Vira Kusuma Dewi from University of Padjadjaran (Indonesia) shared their experiences and highlighted the importance of expanding safe use initiatives such as the Safe Use Ambassador programme.
They were joined by two of the programme’s previous winning students, Nimeshkumar Gorani (India) and Jane Navasquez (Philippines), who underlined the importance of this programme for raising farmers’ awareness as well as how becoming Safe Use Ambassadors affected their own lives.
As the major outcome of the conference, a platform is expected to soon be established to facilitate exchange between countries and stakeholders and Bayer aims to organise a similar conference next year to spread the safe use message to the wider community.
The Safe Use Ambassador programme aims at training students in safe use practices who then take their knowledge to farming communities in their countries and thereby increase the outreach of general safe use training efforts massively.
The programme goes hand in hand with a competition to win an educational trip to Monheim, Germany and usually brings a select group of students who submitted the most distinguished documentation of their approach and achievements as ambassadors to Bayer Crop Science Headquarters each year for further training.
The programme initiator, Vinay Sharma, has over 16 years of experience with small holders of the APAC region while working for both legacy Bayer and Monsanto organisations in various functions. He has started various stewardship projects focusing safe use among small holders and building network of Bayer safe use ambassadors.