Most farmers in India are smallholder farmers who farm on less than two acres of land. These farmers are vulnerable to challenges such as pests and crop diseases, lack of finance, adverse climate impacts, irrigation management, rural migration and fluctuating commodity prices. Because of these challenges, they are unable to realise their full farming potential.
Through its Crop Science business, Bayer works closely with smallholder farming communities to help them progress from subsistence farming to commercial farming and earn sustainable incomes from their small family farms. In 2018, Bayer formed the ‘Better Life Farming’ alliance that brought together global and local partners across the agri value chain to help smallholder farmers unlock their farming potential. In India, the Better Life Farming alliance is led by Bayer, International Finance Corporation (IFC, a member of the World Bank Group), Netafim, Yara Fertilisers, DeHaat and Big Basket.
In addition, Bayer has roped in Agribazaar, an Indian agritech platform as an alliance partner for Better Life Farming projects in India. Agribazaar will provide market linkages to smallholder farmers through its e-marketplace and help farmers get better prices for their produce. Bayer will also work independently with Agribazaar to improve access of crop advisory and enable transfer of agri technologies to smallholder farmers.
Highlighting about the partnership, Simon Wiebusch, Chief Operating Officer, Bayer’s Crop Science for India, said, “Bayer wants to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. When farmers get the right remunerative price for their produce, they are encouraged to adopt good agricultural practices and can afford modern agricultural technologies. However, no company can achieve this change alone as it requires the right eco-system, massive capacity building and meaningful collaborations along the agri value chain. With Agribazaar, we aim to enhance our reach to smallholder farmers and offer personalised solutions, enabling them to achieve better harvests with more sustainably.”
Speaking on the roadmap, Amith Agarwal, Co-Founder & CEO of Agribazaar, said, “Agribazaar’s digital platform, along with Bayer’s expertise in providing crop advisory and inputs, will help address Indian farmers’ problems – be it timely availability of advisory, inputs, price discovery, crop traceability or quality assurance. This partnership will help both buyers and sellers transact in a transparent and trusted ecosystem and provide integrated, cost-effective and timely solutions.”
Bayer is also working with a network of smallholder farmers who practice agri-entrepreneurship under its Better Life Farming projects for rice, corn and horticulture crops. With its growing network of agri-entrepreneurs, Bayer aims to serve 2.5 million smallholder farmers across India by 2025.