September 08, 2023

[CORPORATE] First Bayer ForwardFarm of Southeast Asia launched in Vietnam

On September 6th, 2023 – Bayer Vietnam in partnership with the National Agricultural Extension Center (NAEC) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), inaugurated the first ForwardFarm in Southeast Asia located in Thoi Lai district, Can Tho province. ForwardFarm Can Tho brings together farmers, technology partners, scientists and academia, value chain partners, as well as consumers, to exchange agricultural know-how and form partnerships to promote modern and climate-smart sustainable agriculture through first-hand experience.

 

 

In the plains of the Mekong River, rice has been cultivated for centuries as an essential staple food for the people of Vietnam and many parts of the world. The establishment of the ForwardFarm Can Tho is result of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Bayer Vietnam and the NAEC in August 2022 that agreed to collaborate and transform rice cultivation in Vietnam by improving productivity and quality for exports, as well as promote sustainable agricultural development including climate mitigation.

 

Bayer has currently a network of 26 ForwardFarms in 13 countries around the globe and Vietnam is the 14th country and the first in Southeast Asia. We have implemented this initiative in Vietnam to serve the value for smallholder farmers under the agreement with the government and through the partnership with key industry stakeholders in the value chain. The tailored solutions, modern tools and practices, proactive stewardship measures and partnerships under the ForwardFarming initiative will enable farmers to enhance productivity, quality and yields and in a way that preserves the environment.

 

Do Tri Hung is a smallholder farmer in Can Tho province, who cultivates rice on 1.5 hectares of land. As a progressive farmer, he believes in the value of further improving his farming practices to improve the productivity and quality of his yields in a smarter and more sustainable manner. He has joined the ForwardFarming initiative established jointly under the partnership of Bayer Vietnam, NAEC, MARD, and rice value chain partners including Kim Hong Machine Enterprise Co Ltd., Binh Dien Fertilizer Joint Stock Company, and Thuan Thang Cooperative. “In recent years, we have faced many unpredictable challenges related to pests, diseases, and climate change in our local farming areas. I highly appreciate the collaboration via this Bayer ForwardFarming initiative to help us manage the challenges of sustainable farming with a broad range of innovative solutions tailored to our local farming practices,” said Do Tri Hung at the farm inauguration ceremony.

 

 

One step ahead with Sustainable Agriculture

 

Today’s agriculture is faced with numerous challenges: the increasing demand for food because of the continuously growing world population, the decline in available arable land, limited natural resources and climate change. At Bayer we are convinced that the answer lies in an integrated concept for sustainable agriculture that considers several economical, ecological, and societal criteria. Bayer ForwardFarming is a knowledge platform for sustainable agricultural practices, designed to further stimulate the dialog within the industry and beyond.” Tomas Zaborowski, Bayer Global Head of Sustainability Excellence shared.

 

Unique in this global reach, the Bayer Forward Farming network serves as a platform for dialogue and knowledge sharing. The initiative provides an up-close look at how farmers around the world are practicing smart, sustainable and towards the development of regenerative agriculture. ForwardFarmers can deploy technologies and best practices for smallholders to improve productivity, reduce agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions, decrease the environmental impact of crop protection, promote biodiversity and conserve natural resources, which are part of Bayer’s commitment to leading the future of regenerative agriculture.

 

Moving forward towards smart and regenerative farming

 

In collaboration with farmers and other partners, the Bayer ForwardFarming initiative enables knowledge sharing about modern and sustainable agriculture through first-hand experiences on independent farms around the world.  Following the overarching concept, the ForwardFarming initiative in Vietnam will support sustainability in agriculture across three areas: care for crops with tailored solutions for farmers via the Much More Rice integrated program, care for the planet and people with proactive stewardship to protect health, safety, and environment responsibly, and care for partnerships with value chain partners to bring holistic solutions to farmers. Special emphasis is given to regenerative farming practises, for example, direct seeded rice (DSR).

 

The three-year program will improve farmers’ incomes, ensure food security, and preserve natural resources and the environment, with the additional goals of enhancing practices to reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as adapt to climate change, complementing MARD’s vision to sustainably develop one million hectares of high-quality rice for export and promote green growth in the Mekong Delta rice cultivation area.

 

Forging a collaborative future to improve farmers’ livelihood

 

Besides demonstrating best farming practices towards regenerative farming, promoting new solutions, and technologies, as well as provide training to improve crop value and farmers’ income, ForwardFarming aims to forge a collaborative future for sustainable agriculture, connecting the partners and farmers to disseminate knowledge and benefit the broader farmer communities.

 

Dr. Le Quoc Thanh, Director General of National Agricultural Extension Center commends the joint efforts among value chain partners in this project and highlighted the importance of capacity building in the farmer network. “Partnerships are essential to stimulate progress in sustainable agriculture. This is being demonstrated by the partners of the ForwardFarming initiative via the collaboration programs and the joint training activities to enhance the capacity of farmers to produce sustainable rice towards emissions reductions, climate change adaptations, and smart rice farming. As capacity building for farmers is crucial to achieve the sustainability goals, we target to outreach more than one hundred thousand farmers for dissemination of sustainable farming practices via the national agriculture extension network on both off-line and online training platforms.”, he added.

 

Commenting on the partnership with Bayer, representatives from Binh Dien, and Saigon Kim Hong in the panel discussion have shared a common goal to be fully committed to working closely with Bayer and other value chain actors to build a sustainable future for Vietnam. “At the same time, we look forward to further assisting farmers in applying sustainable farming methods to ensure a more prosperous life.” The collective expertise and resources of Bayer, Binh Dien, SaiGon Kim Hong and others mark a significant step towards the smart farming practices, addressing the challenges and environmental impacts of rice cultivation and contributing to a more sustainable future.

 

Stacy Markovich, Country Division Head of Bayer Southeast Asia and Pakistan shared at the launch event: “Through a deep understanding and close collaboration with local smallholder farmers, we aim to create lasting partnerships via the ForwardFarming initiative providing farmers with access to training, agronomic know-how and solutions to improve farming incomes. We are also committed to sustainability including the adoption of holistic regenerative farming practices to strengthen farmers’ livelihoods while also conserving natural resources.”

 

Prior to the official inauguration of the ForwardFarm Can Tho, Bayer Vietnam and NAEC have jointly conducted Train-the-Trainer and Train-the-Farmer sessions for two thousand farmers locally on sustainable farming practices as part of the capacity building programs in the local farmer network of the project. The activities also include highlighting the key role of women in the success of agriculture and knowledge sharing on enhanced community’s health.

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