The global pharmaceutical company Bayer has partnered with the non-profit organisation Fair Planet in the ‘Bridging the Seed Gap’ project, which focuses on genrating opportunities for smallholder farmers in Ethiopia by improving access to high-quality vegetable seeds
Continuing the collaboration between the two groups, which started in 2015, the new contract for the four year partnership was signed at the Vegetable Seeds Campus of Bayer in Nunhem, The Netherlands.
Fair Planet’s ‘Bridging the Seed Gap’ project aims to provide access to high-quality vegetable seeds to the smallholder farmers in Ethiopia.
In addition, the programme organises training for the farmers on the use of seeds with minimal changes to the traditional farming production, with an objective to improve the Ethiopian farmers’ incomes on better yields.
Fair Planet has collaborated with leading global vegetable seed companies, national and international stakeholders such as governments, universities and farmers’ unions and public and private donors for the development of the seed gap project in Ethiopia.
Hitherto, Bayer supported Fair Planet in the creation of three vegetable excellence centres in Ethiopia, where a range of vegetable seed varieties suitable for Ethiopian atmosphere were identified and evaluated.
As per the new contract, Bayer will support the NGO in forming four tomato hybrids, one pepper hybrid and one onion hybrid at the centres located at Butajira, Haramaya and Dire Dawa in Ethiopia.
Bayer said that the best-performing varieties of the hybrid seeds would be circulated to the selected farmers to cultivate as well as demonstrate the benefits to the other farmers around.
Joachim Schneider, head of vegetable seeds at Bayer, explained, “Our contribution to the work of Fair Planet enables us to create local access to our high-quality vegetable seed varieties and know-how over the next years.”
“The results of our joint program speak for themselves, trained farmers are using high-quality vegetable varieties and reach crop yields that are five times higher than Ethiopia’s average,” said Dr Shoshan Haran, founder and operations manager of Fair Planet.
“In just one production season they can double, and sometimes even triple, their annual income,” she added.
Fair planet is also looking forward to train a total of 1,000 model farmers in Ethiopia by 2020, with providing additional training to 200 model farmers each year from 2017 to 2020.