This initiative is a timely boost for local farmers as it will provide much-needed resources to those in the region as they battle the adverse effects of drought, saltwater intrusion, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The care packages are part of Bayer's wider “Better Farms, Better Lives” initiative, which seeks to help farmers get back on their feet and safeguard their livelihoods during these challenging times. The range of projects aims to bolster the spread of sustainable farming practices, and ensure agricultural products meet international standards.
|Farmers’ representatives in Mekong Delta recevied Bayer’s Corn Seed Support Package which aims to support farmers to restore their production activities, respond effectively to drought, saltwater intrusion and COVID-19 pandemic |
Strengthening support for a successful planting season
With the second corn crop of the year fast approaching, farmers will need new resources as production restarts in November and December. Ensuring a successful second crop is critical in light of the toll that drought and the COVID-19 pandemic had on the first crop. People in the southeast, and in Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau in particular, are heavily reliant on corn both for sustenance and as cattle feed. Corn farming in these two provinces cover 30,000 hectares, making it the largest corn growing area in Southern Vietnam.
Given the importance of corn to the region, Bayer is striving to ensure a healthy and productive harvest in the face of drought and other pressures. The seeds provided by Bayer's care packages are hardy in nature and are able to thrive in dry soil conditions without the use of irrigation systems. Bayer’s 60-tonne donation to smallholder farmers in Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau is made up of 9919C, a high-quality seed type that can be collected for corn in 90 to 95 days after planting.
The donation is expected to open new development opportunities for agricultural production in the region, creating a positive impact on farmers' livelihoods. This is part of Bayer's steadfast commitment to assisting Vietnamese farmers, with notable contributions including its Better Farms, Better Lives initiative that kicked off in September 2020.
|Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, director of International Cooperation Department, emphasised on the initiative’s objective to spur development of sustainable agriculture in the southeastern region in particular and in Vietnam in general |
On a journey to develop the agricultural landscape
It has been two months since the Better Farms, Better Lives initiative started by Bayer Vietnam in collaboration with Grow Asia, the NAEC, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The project is proving a driving force for sustainability among the 80,000 smallholder farmers in the country it has helped during what has been a trying year. Bayer also co-organised a training session and distributed free Better Life Farming care packages to 100 smallholder farmers in Ben Tre as part of the initiative last month. The initiative is stated to expand to other provinces in the Mekong Delta region to aid the recovery of smallholder farmers whose livelihoods and welfare have been severely impacted by recent challenges.
In addition to the Corn Seed Support Package, Bayer is also equipping farmers with knowledge about the latest techniques through a series of training courses. These courses aim to improve awareness of corn cultivation, provide solutions to pest management, enhance productivity and income, as well as distribute vital information about COVID-19 and women's health.
About 2,500 households per province will receive direct training, while 7,500 households per province will receive training materials, information, and planting solutions via online communication channels for agriculture on dedicated websites and various digital platforms such as Facebook, Zalo, and YouTube. Instead of a physical classroom, farmers who take part in the training sessions will participate via a digital app.
|Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Quoc Thanh, head of National Agriculture Extension Centre gave the speech, updating the overview of “Better Farms, Better Lives” initiative in Vietnam and Corn Seed Support Packages to farmers in Dong Nai province |
“Corn farming continues to play a huge role in the Vietnamese agricultural industry. In the future, we must understand that the only way to maintain corn production for the market is high-quality products that comply with global safety standards. In this regard, Bayer's Corn Seed Support Packages will give Vietnam’s corn crop a competitive edge, by continuing to improve the process of corn cultivation and deliver resources that enhance quality, contributing to agricultural development across the country,” said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Quoc Thanh, director of the NAEC.
The Corn Seed Support Package is the next step on the journey to support and address immediate shortfalls by providing much-needed resources on agronomy and training on agricultural practices. This continues Bayer’s commitment to aiding smallholder farmers as they recover, as well as to developing agriculture in Vietnam as a whole.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of healthcare and nutrition, whereas Grow Asia, established by the World Economic Forum in tandem with the ASEAN Secretariat, is a unique multi-stakeholder partnership platform that brings together farmers, governments, the private sector, NGOs, and other stakeholders in Southeast Asia to lift the productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability of smallholder agriculture in the region.