Bayer initiative embracing sustainable agriculture

September 06, 2023 | 19:34
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Bayer Vietnam has stepped up sustainability efforts by launching its ForwardFarm initiative in Vietnam to promote the development of agriculture.

On September 6, Bayer Vietnam inaugurated the first ForwardFarm in Southeast Asia, located in Thoi Lai district of Can Tho city. The scheme is in partnership with the National Agricultural Extension Center (NAEC) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Bayer initiative embracing sustainable agriculture
The representatives of Bayer and the NAEC with rice value partners at the farm inauguration ceremony

ForwardFarm Can Tho brings together farmers, technology partners, scientists and academia, and value chain partners, as well as consumers, to exchange agricultural know-how and form partnerships to promote modern and climate-smart sustainable agriculture through first-hand experience.

The initiative aims to forge a collaborative future for Vietnam's sustainable agriculture, connecting the partners and farmers to disseminate knowledge and benefit the broader farmer communities.

The tailored solutions, modern tools and practices, and proactive stewardship measures under the scheme will enable farmers to enhance productivity, quality, and yields and in a way that preserves the environment.

Le Quoc Thanh, director general of the NAEC, said that the public-private partnership (PPP) model is essential to stimulating progress in sustainable agriculture.

“This is being demonstrated by the partners of Bayer's initiative via the collaboration programmes and the joint training activities to enhance the capacity of farmers to produce sustainable rice towards emissions reductions, climate change adaptations, and smart rice farming,” Thanh said.

Bayer initiative embracing sustainable agriculture
Le Quoc Thanh, director general of the NAEC shared at the launch event of the ForwardFarming

“As capacity building for farmers is crucial to achieve the sustainability goals, we target to reach more than 100,000 farmers for dissemination of sustainable farming practices via the national agriculture extension network on both off-line and online training platforms,” added Thanh.

ForwardFarm Can Tho is a testament to Bayer Vietnam's efforts to promote the PPP model in sustainable agriculture. The NAEC is the representative of the public side, while the private side consists of Bayer Vietnam along with rice value chain partners Kim Hong Machine Enterprise Co Ltd., and Binh Dien Fertiliser JSC.

The collective expertise and resources of Bayer, Binh Dien, Kim Hong, and others mark a significant step of the PPP model to drive smart farming practices, addressing the challenges and environmental impacts of rice cultivation, and contributing to a more sustainable future.

The establishment is the result of the MoU between Bayer Vietnam and the NAEC in August 2022 to collaborate and transform rice cultivation in Vietnam by improving productivity and quality for exports, as well as promote sustainable agricultural development, including climate mitigation.

Bayer has currently a network of 26 ForwardFarms in 13 countries around the globe, and Vietnam is the 14th country and the first in Southeast Asia. The company has implemented this initiative in Vietnam for smallholder farmers under agreement with the government and through the PPP model with key industry stakeholders in the value chain.

Bayer initiative embracing sustainable agriculture
Farmers are excited about innovative and sustainable solutions in line with local farming practices applied through the ForwardFarming

The three-year initiative will improve farmer incomes, ensure food security, and preserve natural resources and the environment. There are additional goals of enhancing practices to reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as adapting to climate change, complementing Vietnam’s vision to sustainably develop one million hectares of high-quality rice for export, and promoting green growth in the Mekong Delta.

“Through a deep understanding and close collaboration with local smallholder farmers, we aim to create lasting partnerships via this initiative, providing farmers with access to training, agronomic know-how, and solutions to improve farming incomes,” said Stacy Markovich, country division head of Bayer for Southeast Asia and Pakistan. “We are also committed to sustainability, including the adoption of holistic regenerative farming practices to strengthen farmers’ livelihoods while also conserving natural resources.”

Prior to the official inauguration of ForwardFarm Can Tho, Bayer Vietnam and the NAEC have jointly conducted train-the-trainer and train-the-farmer sessions for 2,000 farmers on sustainable farming practices as part of capacity building programmes in the local farmer network for the project.

The activities also include highlighting the key role of women in the success of agriculture and knowledge sharing on enhancing community health.

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