Bayer partners with govt of India

Facilitating last-mile delivery of agri-inputs to smallholder farmers

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Bayer
Sangeeta Dawar, Rajvir Rathi and Ajeet Chahal from Bayer, Aneesh Jain-Gram Unnati and Sanjay Rakesh from CSC

Bayer, a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of healthcare and agriculture, has announced its partnership with Gram Unnati and the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY)’s Common Service Center (CSC-SPV), a strategic cornerstone of the National e-governance plan which aims to usher rural India into a digitally empowered era and foster a knowledge-based economy.

The strategic collaboration aims to provide Indian farmers with access to quality agri-inputs through digital capability building and strengthen rural livelihoods and farm incomes. The partnership will support farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and a few other states in the first phase of execution. Besides access to the entire range of Bayer’s agri-solutions from seed to harvest, farmers can also avail of crop-specific agronomic advisory through CSC’s online platform and market access through Gram Unnati.

As part of the MoU, smallholder farmers will be able to access timely crop advisory, transfer of good agricultural practices and access to premium Bayer products through CSC’s online portal. Gram Unnati will facilitate farmer mobilization and ensure market linkages. Together, Bayer, CSC-SPV & Gram Unnati aim to empower over 500,000 (0.5 million) smallholder farmers over the next two years. To facilitate easy access to quality inputs, agronomic support, and encourage agri-technology knowledge transfer based on the latest practices, Bayer will also nurture agri-entrepreneurs by leveraging village-level entrepreneurs of CSCs from within the local communities.

Simon-Thorsten Wiebusch, president, Bayer, South Asia & Country Divisional Head, Crop Science Division of Bayer for India, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka. said, “Smallholder farmers are vital in ensuring food and nutritional security in the country and Bayer is dedicated to empowering them through the expansion of access to essential agricultural inputs and expert agronomic guidance, driven by digital innovation and collectivization. Our association with the Government of India’s Common Service Center and Gram Unnati will help bring us closer to our shared goal of empowering farmers as we bridge the gap to remote farming communities, promote financial literacy and foster an entrepreneurial spirit leading to optimized resource utilization, and maximizing farm potential to enhance their livelihoods sustainably.”

Sanjay Rakesh, MD & CEO, CSC-SPV said, “We are excited to collaborate with Bayer and strengthen our e-commerce platform to scale support to smallholder farmers through our technology-powered ecosystem. By leveraging our synergies with Bayer Crop Science Limited, we envision sustained enhancements in rural agriculture within the identified centers. This partnership will enable last mile access to tailored solutions, to better support the rural community and agri-entrepreneurs.”

Aneesh Jain, founder & CEO, Gram Unnati, said: “We are extremely delighted to work with Bayer CropScience and CSC e-Governance to play the role of a key facilitator in this ground-breaking association. We are already developing a system with CSC e-Governance to enable farmers to sell their end produce through the VLE network. This collaboration will enable farmers to get timely access to high quality agri inputs, thus further improving their crop quality and yields too.”

The CSC scheme, a collaborative e-governance platform, is part of the Digital India program. The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) aims to facilitate the delivery of government, private and social sector services to Indian citizens through the CSC network. It supports linkages, connecting villages in India through high-speed internet and scaling the delivery of products & services to reach the last mile.

It also offers a robust project platform for ‘Better Life Farming Alliance’ led by Bayer CropScience Limited, through which the company can further contribute to sustainable income enhancement while promoting market-oriented agriculture practices and services among smallholder farmers. Under the partnership, Bayer will also facilitate women-focused training on financial literacy, management and agri-business practices. Furthermore, the company aims to strengthen the capacities of Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) in alignment with their needs to enhance business and financial management. The collaboration will also support the scaling up and increased adoption of Bayer’s digital interventions amongst smallholder farmers, across the country.

The newly announced partnership follows an ongoing pilot engagement project running between Better Life Farming centres and CSC in Jharkhand’s Lohardega district from late 2020.

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