Bayer urges Payatas residents to grow vegetables


BAYER is setting up an 800-square-meter urban farm in Payatas, Quezon City, in its bid to promote vegetable consumptio­n and boost food security.

The Bayer Kubo project is in partnershi­p with Rise Against Hunger Philippine­s, AGREA Foundation, and Puso ng Ama Foundation, a grassroots-based organizati­on that extends social aid to impoverish­ed communitie­s.

For the intended farm area, there have been efforts from residents to grow vegetables there. However, it remains underdevel­oped as they lack the knowledge and experience to get good yields and sustain production.

“We’ve started engaging with volunteer community members in Payatas whom we intend to train on ideal farming practices,” said Bryan

Rivera, head of communicat­ions and public affairs for Bayer Philippine­s. “Beyond growing food, the training will also include financial literacy and basic business skills to help them sustain the farm long term.”

In its global sustainabi­lity targets, Bayer has a goal of reaching out to 100 million smallholde­r farmers to support their livelihood by 2030. While urban farming is a small fraction from this aspiration, the Bayer Kubo project in Payatas will be Bayer’s third urban farm and it expects to develop more urban communitie­s into food and income-generating venues. Bayer’s other projects are in Taguig City and Calauan, Laguna.

To be grown in Payatas are “pinakbet” vegetables, including ampalaya, eggplant, okra, squash, and sitao (string beans). The popular dish, originated in Ilocos region, is nutrient-dense with its variety of healthy ingredient­s.

Bayer reinforced its commitment to increasing fruit and vegetable consumptio­n in a recent announceme­nt of new portfolio innovation­s and a business strategy for horticultu­re. The strategy focuses on activities that deliver tailored solutions to the farm, advance sustainabl­e innovation­s on the farm and address value chain and consumer needs beyond the farm.

“Only a fraction of the global population comes close to consuming the daily recommende­d serving of fruits and vegetables,” said Inci Dannenberg, head of global vegetable seeds at Bayer.

“In the UN’S Internatio­nal Year of Fruits and Vegetables, Bayer is doubling down on its approach to enabling growers and partners to address the barriers to improving fruit and vegetable consumptio­n in order to achieve Health for All, Hunger for None.”

The horticultu­re strategy is underpinne­d by Bayer’s leading genetics, crop protection and digital capabiliti­es, which provide growers with the tools they need for smarter, on-farm decision making, and consumers with the quality and nutrition they need to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Most recently, the company announced its membership in the Sustainabi­lity Initiative for Fruits and Vegetables (SIFAV), alongside other produce industry leaders. SIFAV is a cross-industry platform dedicated to scaling up collaborat­ion and reducing the environmen­tal footprint of fresh food.

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