Rural Development

The smartest contribution we can make to reducing worldwide poverty and hunger is to help small farm families grow more food and earn more income.
Rural Development
Three-quarters of the world’s poorest people get their food and income from farming small plots of land - typically the size of a football field or smaller - and most of them labor under difficult conditions. They grow a diversity of local crops and must deal with diseases, pests, and drought, as well as poor soil. Their livestock are frequently weak or sick, resulting in reduced production of eggs and milk to eat or sell.

Agricultural development is two to four times more effective at reducing hunger and poverty than any other sector, and that development benefits everyone: when farmers have more income, they can send their children to school, invest more in their farms, and produce more nutritious food for the whole society. Here is how we contribute to agricultural development around the world.

Improving farmers income

Across India, our projects help farmers raise productivity to improve their livelihood. To the 90 million small farmers in India, a football field represents a lot of land and they usually make do with much less.

We support cotton farmers in Rajasthan by supplying seed and the expertise for efficient crop protection. As a result, they have doubled their yields. At the same time, the introduction of insect-resistant BT cotton has reduced the number of applications of insecticides and this reduced the costs for the farmers.

In Karnataka, we help farmers produce better cucumbers. This has boosted their income up to 15 percent. In two other Indian states, we promote the use of hybrid rice, which yields up to 30 per cent more and thus also improves farmers' income.

Shaping model villages

We have contracts with cotton seed producers across several hundred villages in India. They are the initial focus of our Model Village project. Farmers will be offered crop insurance schemes and we’ll make it easier for them to access the market without the middle men. At the same time, we'll improve education and training opportunities for their children and pass on our knowledge of sustainable farming practices to boost productivity; practices such as drip irrigation which will – according to project initiator Dr. Uwe Brekau – ‘achieve a further significant increase in productivity on our contract farms.’

Preventing child labour

Our stance on child labor is unequivocal. We will not employ children, nor will we accept our suppliers doing so. At Bayer, we follow a strict zero tolerance to child labor policy.

However, bans have proved to be an ineffective means of prevention. If we’re to systematically eradicate child labor, we need to fundamentally change the way people think.

In India, our Learning for Life initiative covers everything from reintegrating children into the regular school system to vocational training measures. Together with the Naandi Foundation, we run daycare centers for pre-schoolers and offer special assistance to weaker school students to stop them breaking off their education. We also work with local non-governmental organizations and school authorities to offer vocational classes and enhance the appeal of attending school.

At the Bayer-Ramanaidu Vignana Jyothi School of Agriculture in Hyderabad, we train young people aged above 15 years as farm assistants in half year full day courses.

More than 3,400 students have already benefited in some way from the Learning for Life initiative.
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