Jointly supporting the sustainable production of high-quality vegetables
What was the market situation?
India is the world’s second-largest producer of vegetables and fruits with an annual production of 182 and 94 million metric tons respectively. Geographical and climatic diversity provides a unique opportunity for the production of fruits and vegetables from temperate to tropical crops year-round. While production is high, there is ample room to improve the productivity per unit area in order to bring it in line with global standards.
The production of vegetables is always a challenging task given the characteristics of Indian farming, such as fragmented land holdings, low levels of mechanization, lack of support for technical expertise, and multiple crops. When it comes to marketing the produce, multilayered supply chains, the absence of alternative options, and a lack of infrastructure make it even more challenging. It is an established fact that farmers get only 30 – 40 % of the price consumers pay for the produce.
From left to right: Pankaj Kumar Sharma, Bayer Crop Science, India and Mr. Srinivas K Ranganathaiah, Head Quality Assurance
What was the solution?
Bayer Crop Science and METRO focused on supporting farmers in achieving higher yields and quality; the former through the Food Chain Partnership project and the latter through their direct farm procurement program. With its innovative product portfolio and global expertise, Bayer Crop Science has been supporting METRO in developing and implementing the innovative “5 P” program for a variety of vegetables. The focus crops in this project have been tomatoes, cabbages, cauliflowers, and cucumbers.
The project started with 122 registered growers with one location in Hyderabad and has now expanded to include 471 farmers in five locations: Vantimamidi in Telangana, Malur and Chikkaballapur in Karnataka, Manchar in Maharashtra, and Barasat in West Bengal.
Training courses for farmers, an integral part of the program, aimed to raise awareness of quality improvement, disease, and pest management, as well as the safe use and handling of crop protection products. Bayer’s Food Chain Team provided technical support to METRO’s farmers. Apart from this training, the Bayer Food Chain Project Officer regularly visited the farmers to monitor and guide them through the pest and disease management and spraying operations. In order to create a high level of awareness about the safe use of the crop protection products, the information was made available at the collection center.
Good Agricultural Practices were followed, giving due importance to Integrated Pest Management, worker protection, environmental care, and related aspects in order to strengthen the sustainability aspect of this project. The Bayer Passport, a tool for record management, documentation, and traceability at the farmer level, was implemented in order to ensure produce traceability. Last but not least, the farmers were advised and trained by METRO to harvest, grade, and pack the vegetables in line with customers’ requirements.