Agri science firm Bayer Philippines embarks on program to lure youngsters to farming, plant breeding as Ph farmer population dwindles

September 19, 2022

In an effort to help raise more agriculture entrepreneurs, Agriculture science firm Bayer Philippines Inc. has embarked on a program to lure youngsters to hands-on farming, plant breeding, and crop protection even as farmer-population in the Philippines has been declining.

Bayer has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) under with selected students are sent to Bayer’s Agronomic Testing Center Southeast Asia (ATC-SEA) in Laguna.

Another training site for the “Science Immersion Program” (SIP) is the Plant Breeding Station in General Santos City.

“As a partner of the PSHS we hope to help inspire our young scientists to take a deeper interest in agriculture, and to support science education in the country through hands-on activities in our research sites in Laguna and General Santos City,” said Bayer Philippines Inc. Managing Director Angel-Michael Evangelista.

“Bayer aspires for a world where there is ‘Health for all, Hunger for none’ – and science will help us get there. It’s in our purpose of ‘Science for a Better Life’ and it is integral to our Pharmaceutical, Consumer Health and CropScience divisions.”

At the Bayer Seeds Research and Development Station in General Santos City, students will learn about plant breeding as both a business and science.

At the Bayer ATC-SEA site, PSHS students will be exposed to agriculture operations that contribute to skills in agriculture entrepreneurship. These include seedling production, land preparation activities, crop maintenance, and safe use of crop protection products.

Bayer Philippines Inc. Managing Director Angel-Michael Evangelista conveying support for science education through the PSHS Science Immersion Program. (Photo credit: John Carlo Quito)

As agribusinesses require technical know-how, they will gain basic understanding of agriculture and crop protection research and gain hands-on experience in conducting laboratory and field bio-efficacy trials from insect rearing, field assessments and analysis.

They are expected to gain exposure to the end-to-end breeding process of rice and corn in an industry setting. This includes development of breeding populations, molecular breeding, testing and evaluation of lines and hybrids from early pipeline to pre-commercial stage, as well as exposure to digitalization, mechanization, and automation of breeding operations.

They will be familiarized with the activities of the Plant Pathology Laboratory, Seed Laboratory, and field and screenhouse nurseries.

They will participate in actual inoculum propagation, inoculation, rice emasculation and hand pollination.

“The Philippine Science High School System is committed to provide Pisay students relevant learning opportunities to advance their scientific aptitude and interpersonal skills.Today we earned another collaborator to champion the worthy cause of science education. I am thankful to Bayer Philippines for accommodating the PSHS System to the Science Immersion Program (SIP) for Grades 10-12 students,” said Lilia Habacon, PSHS director.

Bayer scientists from India and the Philippines had earlier conducted a plant breeding and biotechnology webinar across all PSHS campuses to share how Bayer DEKALB corn seeds from the laboratory to the farm have helped Filipino farmers increase their yield and improve their livelihood.

From left to right: PSHS Deputy Executive Director Rod Allan De Lara, PSHS Executive Director Lilia Habacon, Bayer Philippines Inc. Managing Director Angel-Michael Evangelista, and Bayer Philippines Communications Manager Nadira Abubakar. (Photo Credit: John Carlo Quito)

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