Seed World

Bayer Collaborates with One Acre Fund to Support Smallholders in Africa with Donation of EUR 700,000

Liam Condon, Mitglied des Vorstands der Bayer AG und Leiter der Division Crop Science, Sarah LaHaye, Leiterin Business Development, One Acre Fund, Monika Lessl, Leiterin Corporate Innovation & R&D, Bayer

As part of Bayer’s long-term goal to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and their families, the company donated EUR 700,000 to One Acre Fund, a non-profit social enterprise supplying smallholder farmers with the financing, tools and training they need to succeed. The donation will allow One Acre Fund to pursue two innovative services for farmers in Kenya and Rwanda: improved poultry products and digital technologies. At scale, these innovations could reach nearly 600,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya and Rwanda.

Poultry in focus to enhance family nutrition

“High-quality poultry can be an impactful product for farmers for multiple reasons,” says Margaret Vernon, Director of Impact at One Acre Fund. “Increased egg production can improve a family’s nutrition and dietary diversity, while the sale of birds and eggs supplement a smallholder farmer’s income. Importantly, poultry is also a new revenue stream for many of the farmers that we serve, which is a big win for resilience through income diversification.”

In addition to testing this poultry package with One Acre Fund clients, the organization will also collaborate with independent poultry companies in Rwanda and Kenya to increase the supply of healthy, high-quality chickens among rural communities.

Building efficiency through digital innovation

Farm-facing technology is the key to One Acre Fund’s ambitious plans for growth. With support from Bayer, One Acre Fund will adapt digital tools like tablets and mobile phones to make their day-to-day operations more efficient – enabling them to reach more farmers at a lower cost. For instance, employees can use tablets to register farmers for the program, thereby increasing data accuracy and freeing up valuable time for activities like farmer training. This will be crucial to One Acre Fund’s goal of reaching 600,000 clients in Kenya and Rwanda by 2020.

Social innovations are a core element of Bayer’s innovation strategy

The partnership with One Acre Fund is a key element of Bayer’s strategy to support social innovations and sustainable development in Africa. The ultimate aim is to significantly improve the living conditions, incomes and health of smallholder farmers and their families. “We have set ourselves the goal of positively impacting the lives of smallholder farmers in rural Africa by collaborating with social entrepreneurs,” says Liam Condon, member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and President of the Crop Science Division. “We are working within a network of different players from health care, agriculture and digital technologies to achieve this. Through making our expertise, resources, ideas and innovations available, we plan to positively impact at least 100 million people – smallholder farmers and their families – across the world in the longer term.”

In addition to One Acre Fund, Bayer also works with the startup myAgro and the innovative insurance company Pula. Small amounts of money are saved by smallholder farmers in Africa via mobile phones in the form of myAgro scratch cards and exchanged for high-quality seed and fertilizer, and thus increase their incomes. An additional element of the collaboration with myAgro is a deworming initiative for the farmers’ children. Pula offers insurance policies that are specially tailored to the needs of smallholders in Africa and India. This enables them to cover part of the risks associated with corn cultivation.

“Social entrepreneurship has enabled us to help people around the globe through innovative ideas,” explains Monika Lessl, Head of Corporate Innovation and R&D for Bayer. “Therefore, our innovation strategy depends on close cooperation with external partners – such as universities, research institutions or start-ups. We will work together to find solutions that help us address major societal challenges.”

Source: Bayer