Bayer Thai continues its “Better Farms, Better Lives” program for smallholder farmers
published : 20 May 2022 at 10:00
In line with Bayer Thai’s 60th year in Thailand, the “Better Farms, Better Lives 2.0” program aims to benefit 26,000 smallholder farmers in 11 provinces in the central and northeastern regions.
Bayer Thai Co., Ltd. in collaboration with the Cooperative Cyber Brain Foundation, Kasetsart University, the Rice Department and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, launched the “Better Farms Better Lives 2.0 program at New Theory Agriculture & Sufficiency Economy Learning Center in Tambon Sam Ngam Tha Bot, Hankha District, Chainat Province on 21 April and at the large rice field in Ban Sub Charoen, Rong Kham District, Kalasin Province on 6 May.
Bannered under its “Better Farms, Better Lives 2.0” initiative, the program aims to reach 26,000 smallholder farmers in 11 central and northeastern provinces who cultivate rice in a total land area of 300,000 rai.
Mr. Weraphon Charoenpanit, Country Commercial Lead of the Crop Science Division for Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar, said: “Better Farms, Better Lives 2.0 marks the 60th anniversary of Bayer Thai Co., Ltd. With Bayer’s vision of Health for all, Hunger for none,’ the initiative is set to support smallholder farmers affected by the pandemic and rising production costs.”
“Better Farms, Better Lives 2.0 aims to promote new agricultural technology and innovations. An example is the use of drones in spraying pesticides to save on cost and time and reduce manual spraying operations. Key topics the program covered include rice field management, water management, pest management, breed selection and rice product processing to assure better outputs. As rice prices are out of farmers’ control, they need to improve the quality and output. That is Bayer Thai’s aspiration and we hope the knowledge will be passed on to next generations.”
“Better Farms, Better Lives 2.0” has trained 30-40 farmers to themselves be trainers who pass the knowledge on. About 30 demonstration rice fields have been prepared. Online meetings through ZOOM application will take place every Monday from 13.30-14.30 to share knowledge about various aspects and answer farmers’ questions on field management to achieve greater efficiency and safety.
Mr. Anan Phusitthikul, chairman of the Cooperative Cyber Brain Foundation, stressed the foundation’s emphasis on farmers’ household management and transfer of modern knowledge, expecting farmers to see the need for modern innovations. The foundation’s goal is better returns for farmers.
“Better Farms, Better Lives reflects participating organisations’ care about farmers’ quality of life. We seek to help them improve household management to reduce debts and want them to embrace innovations for better returns per production unit. Their returns are at the heart of this development.”
The Cooperative Cyber Brain Foundation teamed up with Bayer Thai in launching the first phase of “Better Farms, Better Lives”. The initiative sought to promote farmer groups and create farmer leaders. It involved on-farm demonstration activities like microorganism development on Department of Land Development land, rice management by the Department of Rice, and the Department of Agricultural Extension’s drone activation for greater efficiency. The knowledge has been shared with communities through local administrative offices, village chiefs, and others.
The first phase of “Better Farms, Better Lives” was launched in 2020 when COVID-19 broke out. Some 50,000 smallholder farmers were initially covered. As COVID-19 persisted, Bayer Thai decided to launch the second phase with a budget of Bt26.7 million. The target area was extended from the Central Region to the Northeastern Region, covering 11 provinces where wet rice cultivation is popular, namely, Kalasin, Roi Et, Mahasarakham, Ayutthaya, Suphan Buri, Angthong, Singburi, Chai Nat, Phichit, Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima.