Agricultural group Bayer has announced a cooperation with non-profit organisation Fair Planet, for it to participate in the 'Bridging the Seed Gap' project in Ethiopia.
According to the group, the project is designed to provide new opportunities to smallholder farmers through a long-term technology transfer process established by Fair Planet, in collaboration with leading global vegetable seed companies, national and international stakeholders such as governments, universities and farmers’ unions, and public and private donors.
The project gives smallholder farmers facilitated access to seeds of high-quality vegetable varieties that are suitable for their needs.
At the same time, it supplies training to the farmers on how to use these seeds with minimal changes to their traditional production practices – trained farmers will have better prospects of growing and selling significant crop yields and will benefit from economic growth.
Bayer will participate at all four project locations through its Vegetable Seeds organisation, namely Dire Dawa, Harar, Butajira and Gondar.
During the 2016 growing seasons, selected varieties from the Nunhems tomato, hot pepper and onion range will be tested in variety and cultivation trials. In 2017, the best-performing varieties from Bayer and the 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.
“Access to high-quality vegetable seed varieties and know-how is essential to improve the economic growth of smallholder farmers in Ethiopia,” explained 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.”