San Jose, 23 May 2019 (IICA). Empowering small-scale producers, providing them with training in good agricultural practices and broadening their market access; as well as promoting leadership among young agricultural entrepreneurs: these are just a few of the initiatives that the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and Bayer will execute.
Representatives from both organizations met in Costa Rica to define a joint work agenda within the framework of the partnership signed in February in Germany, which seeks to drive the development of sustainable agriculture and foster food security in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
As a starting point, Brazilian producers will receive training in good agricultural practices via an online course available on IICA’s E-Learning Platform. The course provides participants with access to the BayG.A.P. manual, developed by Bayer to enable producers to implement a sustainable model that provides socio-economic benefits, guarantees the safety and quality of their food, and generates opportunities to access markets.
“The idea is to further expand this program in the region. Our initial goal in Brazil was to train 50 thousand producers, but now the goal is 100 thousand,” stated Ronald Guendel, Global Director of Food Security at Bayer.
“We must achieve sustainable production, reduce the chemical load and disseminate innovative tools for a modern agriculture. But Bayer cannot achieve this on its own—it requires collaboration from partners like IICA that play a key role in LAC’s agricultural development,” he added.
Lloyd Day, Deputy Director General of the Institute, explained that joint work creates a win-win situation. “It will enrich producers’ knowledge and allow for improving the technical cooperation services that IICA provides to its member countries,” he remarked.
As part of its efforts to empower youth in agricultural matters, Bayer is organizing the Third Youth Ag Summit, which will be held in Brasilia, Brazil, from 4 to 16 November. This summit, which is held once every two years, brings together 100 young leaders (aged 18 to 25) from around the world. Through debates, capacity-building activities and guidance for their projects, participants are empowered to become agents of change in the agriculture sector. IICA will be involved in the 2019 summit as a strategic partner.
“During the summit, we will share the experiences of experts in the field of sustainability and innovation. The idea is to serve as mentors for 25 young leaders from LAC, who will be identified through the support of our Delegations across the region,” explained Day.
In the medium term, Bayer and IICA will build demonstration plots to teach producers how to implement sustainable agricultural practices, correctly utilize technology to boost productivity and protect the environment, as well as capitalize on opportunities afforded by the bioeconomy.
Efforts will also be undertaken to consolidate beekeeping as a development tool and to drive pollination, biotechnology and biosafety.
“We anticipate a great amount of success. There are 500 million small-scale producers around the world and we want to help a significant number of them by combining Bayer’s and IICA’s knowledge,” added Guendel.
Orlando Vega, Specialist in Renewable Energies at IICA.
Marianela Ledezma, Bayer Communications Specialist for Central America and the Caribbean.