The “Better Farms, Better Lives” initiative aims to provide 20 million baht worth of starter kits, personal protective equipment, crop protection products and a related training to be distributed to 50,000 smallholder farmers.
Bayer Thai Co, Ltd., in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Rice Department, Cooperative Cyber Brain Foundation, Kasetsart University, and Charoen Pokphand Produce Co., Ltd., launched the “Better Farms, Better Lives” initiative to assist smallholder farmers in Thailand as they face even greater challenges than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Naraphat Kaewthong, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, presided over the Better Farms, Better Lives launch event and received 50,000 starter kits from Mr. Zhou Fan, Interim Managing Director of Bayer Thai Co., Ltd. The starter kits, consist of Bayer crop protection products and personal protective equipment, including safe use training programs. Altogether valued at 20 million baht.
The starter kits are to be distributed to smallholder farmers who grow rice along the Chao Phraya River Basin in Pathumthani, Suphanburi, Phitsanulok and nearby areas in 26 provinces.
The event at the Rice Research Center in Pathumthani province was joined by: Mr. Thatsana Larbruay, Advisor to Director-General of the Rice Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives; Mr. Anan Phusittikul, Chairman of Cooperative Cyber Brain Foundation; Mr. Jan Scheer, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, a representative of the government agency and the main organisation for implementing the project, and leaders of farmer groups.
Mr. Thatsana Larbruay, Advisor to the Director-General of the Rice Department, said that, “Rice is the major economic crop of Thailand. The Rice Department has an important mission to promote and dispense knowledge to farmers to increase the quality and safety of rice production. Its emphasis is on building a network of safe rice farmers across the country. This, in turn, will create awareness in communities about rice production as well as efficient and environment-friendly use of agricultural inputs consistent with the Better Farms, Better Lives initiative.”
The Rice Department supports farmers to learn technologies and innovations for safe and efficient rice cultivation as well as production, processing, and product market management systems. The focus is on generating income based on sufficiency principle, to feed family and have surplus for sale.
Mr. Weraphon Charoenpanit, Commercial Lead Thailand and Vietnam, Crop Science Division, Bayer Thai Co., Ltd., said that Bayer is steadfast in its commitment to helping 100 million smallholder farmers in developing countries around the world, including Thailand, within 2030.
“Through the Better Farms, Better Lives initiative, our goal is to help uplift the overall status of our smallholder farmers who play an important role in addressing the challenges of food security as the world's population continues to increase," said Mr. Weraphon.
Aside from the distribution of the starter kit, Bayer is working with various partners to produce a manual on safe use of crop protection products and organising training programs related to correct and safe use of pesticides and sustainable agriculture.
Mr. Anan Phusittikul, Chairman of the Cooperative Cyber Brain Foundation, said “The Foundation is committed to help develop the agricultural sector and aims to enhance the knowledge of Thai farmers around four topics; 1) safety, 2) economy, 3) environment (with Office of Extension and Training, Kasetsart University, support) and 4) sustainability so Thai farmers can live in a sustainable way. The Foundation will work closely with 52 volunteers, and farmer leaders who have been selected and trained to serve 50,000 farmer families in 26 provinces along the Chao Phraya River basin.”
Mr. Chaowalit Tangariyakul, Vice President, Charoen Pokphand Produce Co., Ltd., as a business partner of Bayer, said that, “Farmers in Thailand were not only affected by the COVID-19 outbreak but also impacted by the recent drought. The Better Farms, Better Lives initiative will help farmers reduce production costs during the coming growing season. Charoen Pokphand Produce will aid and support farmers in linking to the market. It will assist the marketing of rice production and thereby support farmers' incomes as we cope through this difficult period together."