October 17, 2020
Bayer’s Crop Science division reinforced its commitment to nature-friendly and sustainable food systems amid COVID-19 with its launch of the Bayer Carbon Initiative, which provides farmers incentives for adopting climate-smart practices.
As part of the company’s Future of Farming Dialogue virtual event series, Liam Condon, President of the Crop Science division of Bayer, emphasized the importance of the company’s sustainability commitments it set in 2019. Condon addressed how the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting economic instability reinforced the need to intensify the focus on agricultural innovation and help make agriculture part of the solution to climate change, while continuing to ensure food security for all.
“The agricultural industry is no stranger to adversity—from flooding to drought to pest infestations—and COVID-19 is yet another stark reminder of the need to create a more sustainable and resilient food system to ensure food security,” said Condon. “Innovation is key to not only solving the pandemic but also the present and future challenges facing farmers.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic instability and a food crisis among many nations, especially for developing countries. Agriculture must become a pivotal part of the solution to address this challenge, including climate change.
The Bayer Carbon Initiative intends to help farmers generate revenue for adopting specific climate-smart practices. It was derived from the successful “carbon credit” model of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. One example is the use of no-till farming, which has been proven to reduce use and cost for fuel, labor, and equipment. It also improves soil structure, combats erosion as more surface soil is retained, and minimizes soil compaction.
In a statement, Bayer mentioned that it is paving the way towards a carbon-zero future for agriculture through this innovative, science-based and collaborative pilot program, and that it can deliver unmatched value to many more farmers through expansion in other countries.
The Future of Farming Dialogue features a variety of internationally renowned speakers and stakeholders from academia, industry and media. The focus of discussion is how to build more resilient food systems, accelerate sustainable-driven innovations and develop new business models that can reward farmers for their services to the ecosystem.
Condon commented on Bayer’s sustainability commitments: “Especially in challenging times, it’s our responsibility to help ensure food security and reduce our environmental footprint. We also need to help farmers do the same by providing the products, services and technologies needed to produce enough food while using less resources and caring for the environment. The key to this is innovation and this is what we continue to drive forward.”
In the Philippines, Bayer has experience in the company’s “Better Life Farming” initiative for remote agricultural areas where both farming and technical expertise are highly underdeveloped. The intention is to introduce farming know-how, inputs, and market access for smallholder rice farmers to improve their yields & income. One such project is their concept store in Alicia, Bohol where rice farmers are guided on the right crop management technologies and are now able to use the recommended inputs for their farm production.
Bayer also provided seeds and crop protection inputs along with market assistance and support for health and safety needs due to COVID-19 for smallholder farmers in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
These efforts – on top of many others – are already helping Bayer fulfill its commitments to empower 100 million smallholder farmers through access, agronomic knowledge, tools and partnerships; reduce field greenhouse gas emissions produced by key crops in major agricultural markets by 30 percent; and reduce the environmental impact of crop protection 30 percent by 2030.
“By integrating sustainability into our core business, we are able to not only help ensure food security, but also transform agriculture so that it can become part of the solution for climate change,” added Condon.
Bayer will continue to host its Future of Farming Dialogue in a virtual series throughout 2020 and into 2021. Melody Mendoza Aguiba