Bayer Teams Up with Fair Planet Non-Profit for "Bridging the Seed Gap" Project
- by Christofer Oberst
ETHIOPIA – Bayer is joining the “Bridging the Seed Gap” project in an effort to provide new opportunities to smallholder farmers.
Developed by non-profit organization “Fair Planet,” the Bridging the Seed Gap project brings together leading global vegetable seed companies, national and international stakeholders, such as governments, universities, and farmers’ unions, and public and private donors to give smallholder farmers access to high-quality vegetable variety seeds that are suitable for their needs, as well as training on how to use these seeds, according to a press release.
Bayer signed the cooperation with Fair Planet on the trial fields of the project at Dire Dawa, a city to the east of the capital Addis Ababa, and in Dire Dawa itself.
“Access to high-quality vegetable seed varieties and know-how is essential to improve the economic growth of smallholder farmers in Ethiopia,” said Vicente Navarro, Managing Director M&S of Vegetable Seeds. “But this can only be successful with a holistic approach and through collaboration. We believe in the setup that Fair Planet has created. We will leverage local empowerment with our seeds and knowledge.”
In addition to Dire Dawa, Bayer will also participate in the project in Harar, Butajira, and Gondar. Select varieties from the Nunhems tomato, hot pepper, and onion range, will be tested in variety and cultivation trials during the 2016 growing season.
“With our project that was established in collaboration with leading vegetable seed companies, we aim to improve the quality of life of smallholder farms through access to high quality seed and by showing improved cultivation techniques with minimal changes to traditional practices," said Dr. Shoshan Haran, Founder and Operations Manager of Fair Planet. "We are extremely pleased that Bayer is joining our open aid platform, which is a unique phenomenon in the vegetable seed industry. By connecting local authorities, universities, farmers’ unions with smallholder farmers and with the support of global seed companies, we can bridge the seed gap.”
In 2017, the best-performing varieties from Bayer and other vegetable seed companies will be cultivated by selected smallholder farmers who will demonstrate the advantages to other farmers in their own villages and regions.