Thursday, August 31, 2017

Online training: strengthening smallholder farmers in the Americas

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and Bayer have formed a regional partnership to launch a BayG.A.P. online training course on best-in-class agricultural practices.
Erika Bernal, President of Bayer for Central America and the Caribbean, and Víctor M. Villalobos, Director General of IICA , signing the agreement
Erika Bernal, President of Bayer for Central America and the Caribbean, and Víctor M. Villalobos, Director General of IICA , signing the agreement

How can we reach out to smallholder farmers in the remote areas of the Americas? In what ways can we support producers in Ecuador, Honduras, or Brazil in implementing good agricultural practices that help them connect with international traders and retailers?

To answer these questions, Bayer has announced a technical cooperation with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). The alliance aims at training farmers in sustainable agriculture and food chain safety. As a result of the cooperation, IICA will host an online BayG.A.P. training course for farmers and field workers on its digital training platform. The principles of good agricultural practices are key elements of the course.

“One could not think of a better partner than the IICA,” says Ronald Guendel, Global Head of Food Chain Relations at Bayer, who has been involved in initiating the project with the Costa-Rica-based institute. Building on 75 years of experience, the IICA supports the efforts of its 34 member states in promoting agricultural development and rural wellbeing. “This is a great milestone for BayG.A.P.,” says Jose Fabio Morera Ramirez, Stewardship Manager for Central America and the Caribbean at Bayer. “IICA is well known in the farming regions of the Americas. Many of the smallholder farmers have become active on the internet and benefit from visiting the IICA’s digital platform.”

Training material available in 10 languages
The new virtual course will consist of 10 BayG.A.P. training modules and includes topics like Integrated Pest Management, Safe Use, Crop Protection Products, Application Technology, and Food Safety. The online course will be in Spanish – and next year also in English. The training material will be available in 10 languages, including French, English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

One of the key challenges that today’s smallholder farmers face is the growing awareness of – and increasing consumer demand for – safe food. To meet this challenge, retailers around the world are requiring best-practice certifications from growers. “If producers want to trade fruit and vegetables, they need to make sure that the produce is safe,” says Jose Manuel Dominguez Alvarado, Fruit and Vegetables Manager for Latin America at Bayer. One of the long-term objectives of the online training is to support producers in reaching international standards such as GLOBALG.A.P. or other food safety standards recommended by the food value chain.

“We have an increasing responsibility to provide food to a growing population,” says Víctor M. Villalobos, Director General of IICA. “For this, it is key to establish partnerships with strategic organizations that complement the activities to achieve this goal.” The technical cooperation on training is currently focused on the Latin American region, but the successful model is likely to be extended to other strategic partners around the world.

Bayer Division Crop Science

Food Chain Partnership
Phone: +49 2173 38 48 28
Fax: +49 2173 38 33 83

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