Taguig urban farmers sustain livelihood and nutritious food despite lockdown due to Covid 19

April 17, 2020

Farm technologies found between high-rise buildings have led to a more reliable food source and year-round livelihood to urban residents facing job and food challenges due to the Covid 19 lockdown.

   The 30-member volunteer farmer residents of the Good Food Farm in Barangay Ususan, Taguig are more grateful than ever for partnering with Bayer Philippines and being trained on how to grow vegetables and herbs under its Bayer Kubo project.

   This includes supplying the seeds to be planted, regular monitoring, and technical assistance provided by Rise Against Hunger and Urban Agriculture Philippines.

   The 300-square meter Bayer Kubo farm is literally just a few steps away from their residences at Pamayanang Diego Silang in medium-rise BCDA Housing. Some of the technologies are made using available resources, such as fermented fruit juice (FFJ) and fermented plant juice (FPJ) used as growth enhancers and pest deterrents for their crops.

Good Food Farm representative looking after crops at the Bayer Kubo in Barangay Ususan, Taguig City

Blessing during the Covid Crisis

   Since its launch in January this year, the community has not sold much of its produce as the newly trained farmers were still learning the ropes.

   However, when the enhanced community quarantine was imposed in mid-March, the project became a blessing for the residents because it was a sustainable source of food when people became worried about the lockdown.

   Taguig urban farmers sustain livelihood and nutritious food with Bayer Kubo despite lockdown.

   “Our farmer volunteers are very happy because they are harvesting fresh and healthy vegetables everyday,” said Jerimy Soronel of Rise Against Hunger (RAH). In the farm plots, there were different varieties of vegetables, including tomatoes, okra, eggplant, sitaw, mustard, pechay, bitter gourd, lettuce, and bell pepper.

   Aside from the usual vegetables, they also harvested herbs and spices like basil, tarragon, oregano, roselle, taheebo, gotu kola, serpentine, and lemongrass.

Hunger for More Knowledge

Malou Furio, Good Food Farm president and one of the residents, said they are set to replant this next season and are expecting vegetable seeds from the Department of Agriculture which has allotted funding for urban agriculture projects.

   “We don’t want to neglect our farm,” said Furio. “It is good that we are able to continue being productive during this lockdown.”

   The community is eager to learn more about increasing their output from vegetable farming so that they can turn the farm into a business venture.

   However, some of these learning activities were delayed.

   “Because of the quarantine, some of the scheduled trainings were postponed, but we still managed to maintain the existing crops and apply what we already know,” added Furio.

   “We rely on our farmers to continue tilling the land so that we can have food on our tables in the next few months,” said Bryan Rivera, head of communications, public affairs, and sustainability for Bayer Philippines.

   “Having an opportunity to create food where it’s not usually grown is a worthwhile experience that Barangay Ususan residents are truly enjoying.”

Training being conducted among farmer residents on how to produce organic fertilizers

Attention Shift to Agriculture

   The Department of Agriculture has called on all sectors to support agriculture during this crisis to prevent food shortage. Particularly, the agency met with the Philippine Seed Industry Association (PSIA) to lead its urban agriculture promotion in Metro Manila by working with DA and the local government units.

   “In our current quarantine measures, aside from our frontline health workers and need for sustained food distribution, agriculture has been given the attention it deserves,” added Rivera.    “Incidentally, our Bayer Kubo project is also getting more support from the people managing the vegetable crops since it is a fundamental source of food.”

More than just a Farm

   Interestingly, the Bayer Kubo urban farm is a holistic venue not only for growing food. It plans to serve the community on concerns related to health.

   “We consider Bayer Kubo as providing a wider scope of benefits to enhance and strengthen urban communities. This includes increasing awareness and appreciation of urban agriculture, promote health & wellness, and introduce other practical topics that would benefit the residents,” said Rivera.

   Even likely to be critical in the future, as the population increases and climate change renders more farms to be less productive, farmers will need more opportunities and technologies to counter a decline in harvest.

   When countries slowly transition to aging populations, more people will consequently turn to health solutions to care for themselves and their loved ones. Melody Mendoza Aguiba/Bryan B. Rivera

Bayer deploys high-yielding hybrid rice seeds, supports DA Plant Plant Plant to counter COVID 19 effects to the economy

Calamba City, April 13, 2020 –

Breeding of 2 superior varieties produce high yielding rice plants with heavier panicles, full-packed grains

Bayer has continued its seed processing and distribution operations in its Calamba, Laguna and Pulilan, Bulacan plant facilities in a bid to support the government’s food resiliency program, particularly the ALPAS Kontra COVID-19 or Plant, Plant, Plant Program.

   As the business sector is adversely affected by the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine extension, the Department of Agriculture reaffirmed the importance of unhampered movement of food and agricultural products.

   This includes home quarantine exemptions for agribusiness personnel and those involved in processing and logistics of agricultural inputs.

   With these guidelines in place, Bayer has responded by mobilizing its product supply and logistics teams to prepare hybrid rice and hybrid corn seeds for timely delivery to its channels.

    “We are looking at having bulk of our Arize® hybrid rice seeds and DEKALB® hybrid corn seeds available to farmers before end of April,” said Bayer Crop Science Country Commercial Lead Iiinas Ivan Lao.

   “We appreciate the commitment given by the Department of Agriculture to help our farmers and for recognizing early on that farmers need good performing seeds if we expect to sustain our food production capabilities.”

   Bayer is expecting more corn farmers to plant their DEKALB hybrid corn seeds having built-in resistance against Fall Armyworm, which has been a significant insect pest concern for farmers in the previous planting seasons.

   Bayer’s intensified supply of rice and corn seeds is in response to the Department of Agriculture’s call to support farm inputs in light of early planting aimed at countering the effects of COVID 19 lockdown.

   The program is called “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19″ or also known as the Plant, Plant, Plant Program.

   For its Arize® hybrid rice seeds, Bigante Plus is one of the most popular products in the market and recommended for wet season planting with bacterial leaf blight or BLB tolerance.    

   The Department of Agriculture aims to provide financial assistance to farmers in the form of cash subsidy and inputs to encourage them to plant & harvest early in order to maintain the country’s inventory level of rice in the succeeding months. Support was also committed for corn farmers.

   “While we want to serve the needs of our corn and rice farmers, safety remains a top priority for all our employees,” said Lao.

   “We have established stringent safety measures at our plant facilities to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection among our employees and agencies.”

   As part of its commitment to safety, Bayer deployed a skeletal workforce in its plant facilities and set up protocols involving proper hygiene and social distancing.

   These steps cover the entire operational cycle from transportation of its workers to and from the site and all the activities being done to process the seeds and ship them to agriculture distributors across the country.

   “Since we’re expecting less face to face interaction with customers and farmers due to the quarantine, we encourage them to interact with us via text message or through our local Facebook page,” added Lao. Bayer’s text messaging service, called Bayer TXT Connect, aims to address any inquiries about its agriculture products. Farmers can send their name, location, and message to 21586727 for Globe/TM or 225656727 for Smart/TNT/Sun. Alternatively, they can also visit their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/BayerCropSciencePH/ for inquiries via Messenger.Bryan P. Rivera

Bayer drives agricultural innovation with year 2020 pipeline projects

Short-stature corn stands several feet shorter than standard variety in Bayer’s Jerseyville, Illinois demonstration plot. Credit: Bob Reiter/Bayer
April 4, 2020                                   

Bayer of Germany has announced year 2020 pipeline projects for Crop Science including the launch of short stature corn after delivering in 2019 55 key projects aligned with an aim of cutting carbon footprint in light of imminent climate change.   

Providing farmers around the world with more than 450 newly commercialized hybrids and varieties of corn, soybeans, cotton and vegetables. Bayer’s annual investment is 2.3 billion euros in crop science Research & Development (R&D).  
 
Bayer continually converts its R&D investment into innovative products that match the complexities farmers, consumers and the planet are anticipated to face.

   “At Bayer, we are driven to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges. This means helping feed the world without starving our planet. Farmers with operations of all sizes need innovation not only to grow enough nutritious food, but also to do this in a sustainable manner that respects planetary boundaries,” said Liam Condon, Bayer Crop Science president and board member of Bayer based in  Monheim, Germany.   

“Our employees are united around this goal, and our unrivaled pipeline is delivering against it.”  

Short stature corn

   Bayer’s short stature corn is expected to provide environmental sustainability benefits through a transformational shift in crop management flexibility.   

Because it is several feet shorter than today’s hybrid field corn (6-7 feet versus 10-11 feet), the product concept allows farmers to have better in-season crop access for precision applications of inputs, such as nitrogen, which can be made when the plant needs them most.      
 
Some short stature corn hybrids can also be planted closer together, enabling the production of more corn on the same amount of land and potentially reducing requirements for land and water.   

Shorter stature will also help improve standability, including better green snap and stalk lodging tolerance, helping reduce crop loss from challenging environmental conditions such as high winds from extreme weather (that destroy corn plants).   

Both the breeding and biotechnology approaches to create short stature corn are advancing to Phase 3.  Bayer also unveiled a third pathway to short stature corn, a Discovery Phase project that has achieved proof of concept through gene editing.   

According to Bob Reiter of Bayer, these are other advantages farmers can expect from short stature corn—given commercialization:

1. You can plant short stature corn seeds more closely together, producing more crops on the same amount of land.

2. Under limited water conditions, plants with the native trait have shown reduced signs of stress.

3. You can access short stature corn fields with farm equipment much later in the growing season, making it possible to more precisely and efficiently apply needed nutrients and fungicides.   

Bayer also announced a new herbicide molecule:  the new post-emergence mode of action for broad acre weed control in 30 years. Multiple MOAs (mechanism of action) for weed control are important for managing herbicide resistance and enabling practices that help to sequester greenhouse gases, like no-till farming.   

Discovering new herbicide MOAs has been a challenge for the industry, but Bayer’s continued investment, leading compound library and advanced screening capabilities have enabled a breakthrough.   

Bayer announced a molecule in Phase 2 of early development which has demonstrated effective control of key resistant grasses in early research.   

The work demonstrates progress toward Bayer’s long term commitment to investing approximately 5 billion euros in additional methods to combat weeds over the next decade.       

Discovery of this molecule is being complemented by a discovery-phase program to identify and develop a corresponding biotechnology trait to convey herbicide tolerance and initial approaches are under evaluation.  

Making best-in-class, better

   XtendFlex® soybeans, the next generation of weed control for soybeans, is advancing to launch phase this spring in the U.S., pending regulatory approvals.

This product builds on the foundation of Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans and adds tolerance to another herbicide, glufosinate.   

Beyond Xtendflex,  Bayer advanced both fourth- and fifth-generation soy herbicide tolerant traits, leading the industry with tolerances to six herbicide classes expected to be launched by 2030.

Converting R&D into tailored, value-added solutions for farmers

   There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to farming. Every combination of products must be tailored to meet the needs of each customer’s field. Digital tools deepen understanding of those needs, accelerating Bayer’s ability to help farmers with individualized challenges.

   The Climate FieldView™ digital agriculture platform, now available in more than 20 countries, continues to lead the industry with its comprehensive, connected suite of tools that help farmers make data-driven decisions to increase their productivity.   

Adoption of the platform has quickly accelerated due to the value farmers around the globe find in the technology, and FieldView’s™ innovation in turning data into actionable insights has led farmers to connect more than 95 million acres globally of their farm data to the platform, making it the leader in data connectivity.

   The first offering of its kind, Seed Advisor enables better decision making with a predictive model that combines the industry’s largest proprietary seed genetics library with regional seed performance data to help predict the best performing hybrids for each of a farmer’s fields.
Performance testing from 2017-2019 demonstrated a consistent 6-9 bushel per acre yield advantage in farmer field trials. Planned pre-commercial expansions for 2021 include an additional three states vastly growing the number of U.S. corn acres.

   In South America, Advanced Seed Prescriptions are unlocking yield potential using a farmer’s historical field data or field health imagery, combined with Bayer proprietary field-testing results, to provide variable rate corn density planting prescriptions tailored to their unique yield or profitability goals.

Recent trials have demonstrated an average yield benefit of 3.2 bushels per acre across Brazil and Argentina.
   Bayer’s breeding advantage is the product of sophisticated breeding techniques, data science, and digital analytics platforms in concert with the world’s largest germplasm library.

Novel applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence continue to improve the speed and scale at which we can arrive at the best products to meet each grower’s needs.   

Identifying the best possible products earlier in the pipeline enables more extensive field testing in diverse conditions and more valuable product insights collected over the course of product development.   

This data supports the success of the new hybrids and varieties we deliver to farmers each year. In corn, this has translated to Bayer’s leading position in five of the six key corn geographies worldwide.

   Bayer views investment in innovation as investment in more sustainable agriculture for the next generation.   

Bayer innovation focuses on producing more on each acre, reducing the environmental impact of farming, and enabling better-informed decisions through data. The company’s commitment to sustainability also includes making innovation available and applicable to farmers with operations of all sizes, all over the world.
 
  Bayer’s ThryvOn™ Technology, a trait for lygus and thrips control in cotton, is expected to launch in 2021, pending regulatory approval. ThryvOn TM Technology is predicted to provide immense value to farmers by supporting healthy plant growth and helping protect yield potential against pests that, until now, couldn’t be managed through a biotech trait.       

Advancements in insect-protection traits reduce the need for foliar insecticide applications and improve productivity per acre.

   Today’s crop protection solutions include safer and more effective chemistries through Bayer’s decades-long commitment to evolving the company’s portfolio – including advanced formulations, stricter safety standards and greater efficacy.   

An example is iblon™ technology, a novel new fungicide for cereals. Wheat treated with iblon™ exceeded market standards by on average 2.2 percent higher yields, allowing farmers to be more efficient and sustainable at all levels of their business.

   “We are converting R&D into solutions for farmers that enhance productivity, create new value and reduce the use of inputs necessary to produce a crop,” said Bob Reiter, head of R&D for the Crop Science Division. “Thanks to our leading positions across technology platforms, Bayer is best positioned to discover, combine and tailor solutions – serving unmet needs and imagining new ways to farm – and that’s a win for farmers, consumers and our planet.”



Short-tall corn comparisons shown with short stature corn (Left) before the equipment against conventional corn (Right), credit- The Furrow

First Anti-coagulation Experts Summit held as new rivaroxaban to reduce adverse cardiovascular disease cases



March 10, 2020 – Filipino patients suffering from coronary artery disease or peripheral artery disease (CAD/PAD) may no longer need to look further to reduce their risk of major adverse cardiovascular events as a lower dosage of rivaroxaban has been introduced in the country for the new indication along with aspirin. This development is a major highlight presented by the Team Xarelto of Bayer  Pharmaceuticals during the first successful Anti-coagulation Experts’ Summit at the Peninsula Manila. The summit was culminated by Dr. Christopher Hammett’s presentation of the COMPASS study showing that combined treatment of rivaroxaban (approved by the Food and Drug Administration) 2.5 mg twice daily and acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) 100 mg once daily resulted in a significant reduction in major cardiovascular events, including myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiovascular death. It demonstrated lower risk of occurrence of such incidents compared to taking rivaroxaban alone or acetylsalicylic acid by itself. It is notable that the COMPASS study was stopped 1 year ahead of expectations in February 2017 due to overwhelming efficacy from the said combined treatment.

New indication for coronary and peripheral artery disease launched during doctors‘ summit ·

     First-ever Anticoagulation Experts’ (ACE) Summit organized by Bayer Pharmaceuticals to launch rivaroxaban and aspirin indication for patients diagnosed with CAD/PAD  

Team Xarelto of Bayer Pharmaceuticals after the first successful Anti-coagulation Experts’ Summit in the Philippines

Taguig City, April 3, 2020 – Filipino patients suffering from coronary artery disease or peripheral artery disease (CAD/PAD) may no longer need to look further to reduce their risk of major adverse cardiovascular events as a lower dosage of rivaroxaban has been introduced in the country for the new indication along with aspirin. This indication was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year and now made available starting this month.

To celebrate this milestone, Bayer Pharmaceuticals division recently organized the 1st Anticoagulation Experts’ Summit at The Peninsula Manila Hotel, which was attended by 126 top caliber vascular cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, and neurologists from different health institutions across the country.

A lineup of speakers was fielded to discuss the highlights and different benefits of rivaroxaban across different indications, and this was culminated by Dr. Christopher Hammett’s presentation of the COMPASS study showing that combined treatment of rivaroxaban 2.5 mg twice daily and acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) 100 mg once daily resulted in a significant reduction in major cardiovascular events, including myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiovascular death. It demonstrated lower risk of occurrence of such incidents compared to taking rivaroxaban alone or acetylsalicylic acid by itself. It is notable that the COMPASS study was stopped 1 year ahead of expectations in February 2017 due to overwhelming efficacy from the said combined treatment.

Dr. Hammett is an interventional cardiologist at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in Australia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. He has been involved in all the landmark trials of low-dose rivaroxaban.

Other doctor experts who presented in the evening event were Dr. John Añonuevo and Dr. David Raymund Salvador, while the program was moderated by Dr. Myla Gloria Supe.

In 2017, deaths attributed to coronary heart diseases totaled 84,120, representing 15% of total deaths in the Philippines. On the other hand, mortality from cerebrovascular diseases was pegged at 59,774 in the same year. This included stroke, which further puts patients at risk of recurrence, making stroke a top health burden. People at risk for cardiovascular disease or stroke are prescribed with a non-Vitamin K antagonist anticoagulant (NOAC) as a preventive approach.

The newly launched CAD/PAD indication for rivaroxaban puts it in a unique position in the Philippines since currently, no other NOAC in the market can claim for this same benefit to Filipino patients.

Team Xarelto of Bayer Pharmaceuticals after the first successful Anti-coagulation Experts’ Summit in the Philippines

Corn hybrids resistant to corn borer also fights newly emerged fall armyworm

March 8, 2020

For any questions or interview requests, please contact 09297158669, 09171026734 (Growth Publishing for Bayer)

North Luzon farmers have found a hybrid corn variety originally developed to fight the highly devastating Asiatic corn borer to be similarly resistant to the just emerging fall armyworm that is now infesting Philippines’ corn farms.

   A relatively new pest in the Philippines that has already invaded Southeast Asia from its

origin in America, fall armyworm has become a major concern for the industry as the

extent of actual damage to corn crops is feared from trivial to significant.

Corn hybrids Dekalb VT Double Pro (RIGHT) withstand fall armyworm leaf damage versus non-resistant hybrids

   The VT Double PRO Dekalb hybrids, which has a biotechnology trait that controls lepidopteran pest Bacillus thuringiensis (TB), is reportedly also bringing resistance to the

newly emerged fall armyworm, farmers claimed.

   The VT Double Pro of Bayer has a dual mode of action for protection against fall armyworm, corn borer, corn earworm, and other above-ground pests notorious for wreaking havoc on corn crops leading to huge yield losses.

   “We observed that some corn hybrids had around 13 to 17 percent damage due to fall

armyworm, but the Dekalb VT Double Pro hybrids planted at the same time had less than 3 percent damage,” according to Rolex Martinez, a farmer in Barangay Swan, Pudtol, Apayao.

   He planted the VT Double Pro Dekalb hybrids in 7 hectares during the previous season.

   These Dekalb hybrid corn seeds are currently the only seed product certified by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) as plant-incorporated protectant for control of fall armyworm

   With other hybrids not having the technology, corn farmers were not as lucky as they tried

to apply different types of insecticides to no avail.

   The fall armyworm has become a major concern for corn farmers since it emerged just in June 2019.

   “Some say that the damage of fall armyworm is not yet very big. Let’s not wait for the damage to turn huge until help to farmers is extended. We are waiting for government to immediately download to farmers whatever solution has been found effective,” said PMFI President Roger Navarro.

   Many farmers are clueless on how to control fall armyworm, considering it is just a new pest.  An old pest, though, known only as “armyworm” before was said to be already existing in the Philippines in the last decades.

   “We are confused on what to do. We don’t know how to control this pest.  We have tried all kinds of pesticides—the strongest ones. We found these useless. We hope the government will recommend to us whatever is best to control this pest,” said Martinez.

   In Barangay Duminit, Cauayan City, Isabela, Art Cacal, a farmer and barangay chairman

who grows white glutinous corn, experienced huge damage from fall armyworm from his latest harvest.

   “Fall armyworm destroyed 100 percent of our harvest because the pest ate up all the leaves,”

said Cacal.

Fall armyworm feed on and damage corn leaves that have no Dekalb VT Double Pro resistant-traits

   Similar to the situation of Martinez, corn farmers in Cauayan City also tried using different

types of insecticides just to combat the pest.  But none of them was able to prevent the

damage to their crops. Cacal mentioned that there were several farmers who had up to 50

percent yield loss at harvest time due to the corn pest.

   On the other hand, Cacal added that farmers who planted the Dekalb corn hybrids last

season did not encounter the same damaging fate.

   The Department of Agriculture gave away fertilizers to farmers in Cauayan City in order to

counter destruction of fall armyworm.

   “We received a total of 149 bags in fertilizer for our entire barangay because DA gave 3 bags of fertilizer per hectare, but it didn’t have much good result for fall armyworm,” said Cacal.

   White glutinous corn is preferred to be planted by some farmers in Cauayan City since it

is a short two-month crop compared to yellow corn’s four-month planting duration.

   Cropping may reach up to five times a year leading to quicker cash turnover. Traders or

buyers of white corn used as food (grilled corn) intentionally travel to Cauayan City just to haul white corn when Nueva Ecija supply gets depleted.

   However, the growing concern from fall armyworm infestation is making farmers growing white corn to shift to planting yellow corn. 

   They are likely to use the Dekalb VT Double Pro corn hybrid varieties due to their resistance to this emerging key corn pest.

   “Our team in the field has observed numerous cases of fall armyworm damage in major

corn growing areas all over the country.  And we feel sorry for our farmers who had the

yields and income reduced significantly due to this corn pest,” said Erwin Vibal, head of

marketing for Bayer CropScience.

   “Fortunately, we are able to address this key concern with our lineup of Dekalb corn hybrids that have proven built-in resistance against fall armyworm.”

   Based on the current list of Fertilizer and Pestcide Authority (FPA) for registered products

to control fall armyworm, Bayer’s VT Double PRO is the only Plant-Incorporated

Protectant in the approved registry while the rest are insecticide application.

   “We are looking forward to the coming season because our Dekalb seeds provide much

more convenience and assurance to our corn farmers from fall armyworm.  We also

ensure that the agronomic characteristics of our hybrids are adaptable to different growing

conditions leading to high yields and income,” added Vibal. 

   Aside from their corn hybrid varieties, Vibal mentioned that Bayer is also launching Yeoval

next month, which is a crop protection product that can help address the concern for farmers planting white glutinous corn or sweet corn. Melody Mendoza Aguiba and Bryan P. Rivera

Filipino farmers to benefit from drones as Bayer pushes AI farm technologies

Calamba City, February 26, 2020 – Filipino farmers will soon have access to drones that intelligently map farms or collect crop growth information via remote sensing as Bayer partners with XAG of China on AI (artificial intelligence) farm technologies.

   The use of drones will tremendously raise efficiency in small Filipino farmers’ production. 

   A strategic partnership on digital farming technology in the Philippines and Southeast Asia was forged under a Memorandum of Understanding between Bayer and XAG which claims to be world’s largest drone supplier.

   XAG’s drones, specifically the granule spreading system, is used in seeding, fertilization, and plant protection in an arial way accurately through AI techniques.

Drones intelligently used in seeding, fertilization, and plant protection

   Bayer was represented by Andre Kraide, the company’s head for its CropScience division in Southeast Asia and Pakistan. XAG was represented by its Co-founder, Justin Gong.

   The technology will enable farmers to overcome farming challenges including labor shortage, water availability, product stewardship and safe use, and most importantly, allowing them to grow more with less.

   “It is estimated that around 500 million smallholder farmers produce 80 percent of the

food consumed in the developing world,” said Kraide.

   “We know that we need to double food production to feed 10 billion people by 2050.  But we also know that we will not get more land or resources to do so. This is where digital farming comes into the picture.”

   “As the leader in agriculture, Bayer is committed to enabling smallholder farmers access

to digital technology and solutions. We look forward to working closely with XAG, our

channel and value chain partners, as well as the governments and other key stakeholders

in the countries to leapfrog the smart agricultural movement in Southeast Asia and

Pakistan from farm to table,” he added.

   The partnership involves distribution of XAG products through Bayer’s channels.  It will jointly promote and develop markets through partnerships with local distributors.

   “XAG has grown from a drone manufacturer based in Guangzhou, China, to the world’s

leading agriculture technology company with a 20 million-hectare crop protection service

record. Our product portfolio includes survey and spray drones, agricultural utility

vehicles, and IoT (Internet of Things) equipment such as weather stations and farm cameras,” said Justin Gong, co-founder of XAG.

Filipino farmers’ key to food security

   The Philippines has been striving towards self-sufficiency in rice and corn through the

Department of Agriculture and part of the government’s focus has been on agriculture

modernization and mechanization.

   “At a glance, we are seeing scarcity of labor and improper application of crop protection products as concerns that can be solved right away by using drones,” said Iiinas Ivan Lao, country commercial lead for Bayer CropScience in the Philippines.

   “Farmers would be able to optimize their usage of farm inputs such as seeds and fertilizers since this technology promotes precision agriculture, hence would

lead to reduced production costs while improving yield output and income,” claimed Lao. Rex Bryan P. Rivera

Hybrid corn of agriculture leader Bayer Crop Science posts record-high 14.85 MT yield, more Filipino farmers anticipated to grow corn

Hybrid corn of agriculture leader Bayer Crop Science posts record-high 14.85 MT yield, more Filipino farmers anticipated to grow corn

February 5, 2020

Two corn Dekalb corn hybrids of agriculture leader Bayer Crop Science have come out as topnotchers in a government-led corn competition in in three Mindanao sites, posting a record high for the region with a computed yield of 14.85 metric tons (MT) per hectare.

   A four-month planting program co-hosted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and municipal agricultural offices in Compostela Valley, Davao City, and Sarangani have exhibited the highest potential yield of the hybrids, given optimum growing conditions and proper crop management.

   In Compostela Valley, Dekalb 8719S came out a first place with 14.85 MT per hectare. Its yield was 14.12 MT in Davao City, also the highest yield in the province.

   In Davao City, the second place was garnered by another Bayer corn hybrid, Dekalb 8899S with 13.38 MT per hectare.

New Dekalb 8719S int he field ready for harvest

   Samuel B. Ontic, DA Malungon municipal corn coordinator, said the government anticipates more farmers will be encouraged to plant corn as the new corn varieties offer bigger profitability potential for corn planting.

   “That is really our objective in putting up these technology-demo sites—to show farmers the best hybrid corn varieties suitable in their areas,” said Ontic. “Varieties perform best depending on the location and this activity demonstrates which corn hybrids are most ideal for their farm.”

   The computed yield from Bayer’s products are highly significant in the Philippines where the average corn yield is only at 3.1 MT per hectare based on Philippine Statistics Authority records.     

   The corn derby in DA Malungon was conducted in MTDC – Integrated Communal and Research Garden, Sitio Basak, Malandag, Malungon, Sarangani Province during the September 2019 to January 2020 cropping season.

   As part of the competition protocol, two different types of fertilizers were applied to all the competing hybrid corn varieties. This way, farmers would have the opportunity to determine which fertilizer and fertilization level to use for optimum plant growth.

   “We recognize the importance of having a sustainable corn industry in Mindanao to meet

demand and we’re excited to have new corn hybrid varieties in the pipeline that farmers here may consider in the coming season,” claimed Erwin Vibal, head of marketing for Bayer Crop Science. “The corn derby results show an achievable scenario on the potential yield and income that Mindanao farmers can get with the right inputs and sound crop management practices.”

Farmers’ Perspective

   Edwin Ligahon, a corn farmer in South Cotabato, said Dekalb 8899S is indeed a “super” variety among all corn hybrids. “A few hybrid corn varieties can get double ears per plant, but for 8899S, most of the plants have two ears that can be harvested with both being heavy,” said Ligahon.

   From the two hectares that he planted with Dekalb 8899S, he reaped 312 cavans. Shelling recovery is high which he estimates to be more than 80 percent. With his highly satisfactory harvest, he plans to expand planting of 8899S to five hectares by the next planting season.     

   It even helps that Ligahon is a resourceful farmer as he runs his own feed processing business. With the value chain in place, his costs for producing feeds are reduced since he grows his own raw materials.

   Mar Nacional, a farmer who tilled Dekalb 8899S, claimed that applying fertilizers at the right time is essential for good harvest. He added that proper cultivation of the soil aids moisture and nutrient retention which are vital for the crop.

   “First and foremost, it’s the right choice of hybrid corn variety that makes the difference if you want to reach the optimum yield potential,” said Nacional.

   Adaptability Across Mindanao

   Ontic claimed that the biggest advantage of the new corn varieties from Bayer is their adaptability in both uplands and lowlands of Mindanao region.    

   “Some corn varieties that have tall plants cannot be grown in hilly or sloping areas, only on flat land. These new hybrids may be grown even on uplands because of their short height,” he said. “Shorter plants with strong stalks are more resistant to lodging, thus surviving strong winds or even some typhoons that destroy plants just before harvest.”

   Bayer’s hybrid corn Dekalb 8899S, launched in late 2019, was bred to have a stable yield performance under drought conditions. Across high and low elevation corn areas in Mindanao, it has shown consistently high shelling recovery at 82%. It also has good resistance against Diplodia ear rot, Phaeosphaeria Leaf Spot (PLS) and other foliar diseases which are critical for the high disease pressure areas in Mindanao. Maturity ranges from 105 to 120 days, depending on the elevation level and season.

Mindanao corn farmers showing off ears of Dekalb 8719S and 8899S in farm activity

   Another Bayer hybrid corn variety, Dekalb 8719S, will be launched this coming season. It boasts of good resistance against Gibberella ear rot, more known by farmers as ‘lipstick’ because of the purpling of the corn ear near the top during the later stage of the crop.

   Having bold orange kernels adds to its attractiveness and potential for grains to be sold at a premium. The plant of 8719S has a stay green quality which can last until harvest period so it is able to absorb more nutrients for better ear development. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Ears of 8899S during a harvest festival in Mindanao

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First-of-its kind urban farm in bustling Taguig City put up by Bayer, Conrad Manila buys the produce

January 24, 2020

A first-of-its-kind urban farm has been put up in Taguig City by Germany-based Bayer as a showcase of a sustainable farm that has a captured market in Hilton hotel chain Conrad Manila.


At a launch in Pamayanang Diego Silang in Brgy. Ususan Taguig, the 200 square meter urban garden called “Bayer Kubo” aims to be part of contributing to meeting certain United Nations goals. The site is nearly along expressway C-5.


A major one under the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations is “zero hunger.”

Vinit Jindal, Bayer Philippines Inc managing director, said the urban garden in Taguig City contributes to this goal and, depending on the availability of suitable land and other partners, the Bayer Kubo concept may be replicated in other urban areas “where it will have significant positive impact.”


“With the Philippines’ growing population, urban agriculture will be important in food security,” said Jindal.
Conrad Manila General Manager Laurent Boisdron said the hotel traditionally sources its supply of vegetables and herbs from the local market.


“We will now buy our vegetables from this farm. Yes we know the produce will be of high-quality with this partnership with Bayer and the community,” said Boisdron in the same launch Thursday.


Bayer Philippines Managing Director Vinit Jindal at the Bayer Kubo with the high-rise buildings rising behind along C5 expressway, Taguig City


The project’s memorandum of agreement also includes Taguig local government unit (LGU) and civic group Rise Against Hunger.


Jomar Flores, Rise Against Hunger executive director, said some urban farms are just launched and later on abandoned. But two major factors will contribute to sustainability of Bayer Kubo.


Direct participation from the Pamayanang Diego Silang and the presence of a direct market in Conrad Manila are major factors to sustainability, said Flores. The BCDA housing community has 2,800 units with 62 buildings.


“We put up our first Food Bank (food storage centers for free distribution to urban poor) in Taguig City. Food banks will only succeed if it’s in an urban area, not rural. The food manufacturers are there (as food supply sponsors),” said Flores.


While it is difficult to organize scattered people in the boondocks, urban areas have the human density, the urban poor consumers, who need food and jobs.


Rise Against Hunger has 12 day care centers in Taguig City where it regularly feeds children and has 500 member-families in its food bank.


Bayer is supplying all the needs of the urban farm—seeds, technical-agronomic assistance, training of people in financial-business operation.


Earwin A. Belen, licensed agriculturist of Rise Against Hunger, said the Bayer Kubo program is using organic practices in the vegetable and herbs farm.


“We’re using organic practices. We use vermicast as fertilizer from worm (waste). We are training the resident-farmers on how to grow vegetables together with the DA (Department of Agriculture,” said Belen.


Bayer Kubo program will also train the 30 registered volunteers from Pamayanang Diego Silang on preparing organic concoctions, fermented fruit juice as plant growth enhancers.


The aquaponics system that Bayer Kubo program is using is also efficient in both fish and vegetable production. It uses a one cubic meter tank to grow lettuce producing 75 heads per cycle (5-6) weeks.


The vegetables are supplied with nutrient by the waste of the fish from the same tank that can grow 30 kilos of tilapia at a time.


Vegetables and herbs now planted in the Bayer Kubo facility here are eggplant, tomato, pepper, medicinal plants roselle, taheebo, gotu kola, tarragon, gotu kola, serpentine, basil, lemongrass, and Thai garden tea.


Registered farmer-volunteers in the urban farm are 30 Pamayanang Diego Silang residents in medium-rise building community in BCDA Housing, mostly senior citizens or retirees.


A multi-sectoral partnership supports success of the program even as Taguig City itself has long been known to sustain its large tracts of profitable farm land despite urbanization.


“We have large tracks of land– hundreds of hectares for farm that have long been farm areas. We have a big production of melon in Taguig. We have kept our rice farms,” said Felix Catigay Taguig City environment officer.


Taguig City naturally has urban greenery program—containerized fruit-bearing trees and urban gardens – in idle areas identified by the city assessor’s office.


What makes the program more holistic is Bayer is making Bayer Kubo, particularly referring to a sawali-bamboo structure conference center, an urban poor multi-program center.


The consumer health and pharmaceutical divisions of Bayer Philippines is also supplying medicines, contraceptives and related products to the community that will support health and population control here.


It will provide training on family planning where Bayer has long involved in successful community work even in other countries where it operates. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)
PHOTO

Bayer Philippines Managing Director Vinit Jindal at the Bayer Kubo with the high-rise buildings behind rising C-5 expressway, Taguig City