Friday, February 16, 2018
On Course for Success: BayG.A.P. in Thailand
Training farmers in sustainable farming practices and thereby ensuring their livelihoods: this is the goal of the BayG.A.P. Service Program. In Thailand, it made great progress in the last couple of months.
During a field visit, participants learned how to implement sustainability measures through BayG.A.P.
Agriculture in general and agricultural exports in particular play a huge role in Thailand. As of 2016, some 40 percent of the population worked in agriculture, and agricultural production accounted for 8.3 percent of Thailand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016. But the export markets place high demands on the quality and sustainable production of the produce they import.
For the many smallholder farmers, these quality standards can be difficult to achieve; failing to attain them, however, could mean a loss of income. But there’s help: to comply with quality demands and therefore to continuously ensure Thai farmers’ market access, Bayer, the certification organization GLOBALG.A.P., and Thai Kasetsart University initiated BayG.A.P locally in Thailand. Within this service program, local farmers are trained in good agricultural practices and receive certification to prove it. These certification schemes help farmers produce their fruits and vegetables sustainably which, in turn, should help them earn a living for the foreseeable future. “BayG.A.P. supports farmers to export their produce,” said Dr. Kliment Petrov of GLOBALG.A.P. “With that, they make an important step to become ready to sell it to the European market and thereby pave the way for sustainable business growth.”
BayG.A.P. training for 30 field technicians of Berli Jucker.
Launched at the beginning of 2017, BayG.A.P. already succeeded in implementing a couple of successful measures during the last few months in Thailand. At the beginning of October, for example, Bayer experts visited the potato cultivation and production facilities of PepsiCo, Thailand Trading Co. Ltd., and Berli Jucker Public. These companies are already eager to promote sustainable farming practices. PepsiCo, for example, engages with its large supplier base of farmers to promote sustainable potato growing through its Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI). With the help of BayG.A.P., such activities can be scaled up in the hope of making a difference in the working lives of farmers. “It was very exciting to learn more about the different BayG.A.P. modules. With that knowledge, we can really work to help farmers start growing crops more sustainably,” said Chawala WongYai, Supply Chain Agronomy Senior Manager Thailand & Myanmar of PepsiCo, Thailand Trading Co. Ltd.
To proceed even further in this regard, in October and December 2017 around 80 employees of Berli Jucker and PepsiCo had the chance to attend BayG.A.P. training courses. Not only did the eager participants receive interesting theoretical information on how to implement sustainable farming practices with the different BayG.A.P. modules, but they were also given the opportunity to do field visits to learn how to solve the problems farmers face while implementing some of the sustainability measures. Mr. Sinchai, Agronomy Senior Manager at Berli Jucker Public, says, “I’m very pleased with the outcome and happy that the training strengthens our sustainable farming activities.”
BayG.A.P. training at the PepsiCo site in Lumpoon province with 50 participants.
Representation at congresses
Apart from providing practical tools, BayG.A.P. was also present at two Thai congresses and conferences: the 13th National Plant Protection Conference and the 16th National Horticultural Congress. Here, the initiative promoted its aims and approaches. Nearly 1,000 researchers, university representatives, and public authorities were introduced to the service program and Bayer’s Food Chain Partnership business model. Additionally, together with the Thai Mango Growers Association, Bayer organized a field trip to a mango orchard to show how BayG.A.P. is implemented and how the service program helps to produce high-quality fruits. “In Thailand, BayG.A.P. got off to a very good start,” says Ronald Guendel, Global Head of Food Chain Relations. “But we still have a lot to do. Our team is really looking forward to continue training farmers to help them produce high-quality crops in a sustainable way.”