Category : Public Service Innovation (Best Covid-19 Response)
Innovation Title : Free Seed Distribution to smallholder farmers under “Bayer for Bangladesh” initiative
Organization : Bayer CropScience Limited, Bangladesh
In line with the vision “Health for all, hunger for none”, Bayeris focused on providing smallholder farmers with the helpthey need to address immediate challenges while buildingresiliency for the future and working to ensure that theCovid-19 pandemic did not turn from a health and economiccrisis into a hunger crisis. As part of an overarchingcommitment to empower 100 million smallholder farmers by2030, In June 2020, Bayer launched a Global initiative ‘BetterFarms, Better Lives’ initiative that aimed at providing holisticsupport across multiple dimensions delivering impactfulresults to the communities and customers it serves. As part ofthe initiative Bayer provided critical supplies and hassupported over 100,000 smallholder farmers with cross valuechain engagement to secure farmer incomes and livelihoodsin 2020 through distribution of hybrid rice seed under theumbrella of “Bayer for Bangladesh ” and in 2021 with hybridcorn seeds.
■ To support smallholder farmers who were facing additionalchallenges due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, ‘BetterFarms, Better Lives’ was a swift and aggressive initiativelaunched in June 2020 and dedicated to helping the peopleof Bangladesh especially the smallholder farmers toovercome the humanitarian crisis.
■ To deliver immediate relief across various communities inBangladesh, through ‘Better Farms, Better Lives’, Bayerrapidly operationalized several Covid-19 response initiativesacross Bangladesh from vaccination drives for its associatesand differently abled persons to mobilizing oxygenated carebeds for underserved communities to distribution of rationkits to the migrants and frontline workers.
The ‘Better Farms, Better Lives’ initiative therefore aimed atsupporting smallholder farmers by providing free seed kits inBangladesh to help raise farm yields and income of vulnerablesmallholders during the unprecedented times. With anintention to ensure the continuity of the agricultural sectorand feed the growing population of the country whileminimizing the overall impact to the farming community, theinitiative facilitated farmers the access to basic Agri-inputs,timely crop advisory and capacity building program.
Bayer in close collaboration with the Govt of Bangladesh(Ministry of Agriculture and Department of AgriculturalExtension) distributed seed care packages to smallholders. In2020, 300 MT of Arize Hybrid Rice Seed and Seminis HybridVeg. Seed were distributed among 1 Lakh smallholder farmersand the coverage was 50,000 acre in 200 Upazilla of 50Districts. In 2021, another 100 MT Dekalb Hybrid Corn Seedwas Distributed among 50,000 smallholder farmers from 90Upazillas of 22 Districts. Ultimately-
■ Supported 1 Lac Farm Family by Arize ® Hybrid Rice Seedduring Aman & Boro 2020.
■ Supported 5 K Veg. Farmers (incl. Women) by Seminis ®Hybrid Veg. Seed in 2020.
■ Supported 50 k corn Farmers by 100 MT (50 k kits) of DekalbHybrid Corn Seed in 2021.
Result and Impact
■ Food Security: Continuous distribution of essentialagri-inputs to ensure food security amidst and post Covid-19
■ Farm Advisory: Remote advisory services on cropmanagement for farmers through call centers and fieldcolleagues. With an aim to promote agriculture as well asassist farmers and provide timely agronomic information andadvice on various crops so that farmers could make informeddecisions to reduce costs, increase yield and get better pricefor their output.
■ Income generation:
1. From free distributed rice seed, estimated output is 300 cr.BDT by producing 150,000 MT Rice.
2. From free distributed corn seed, expected output is 200 cr.BDT through producing 75,000 MT Corn.
3. Smallholder capacity building training was orientedinvolving 15,000 Farmers through Crop shows and Mega Fieldday.