German multinational pharmaceutical firm Bayer AG will set up an 800-square meter urban farm in Payatas, Quezon City by Bayer with an aim to promote vegetable consumption in the Philippines.
To do this project, Bayer, through its Bayer Kubo project, has partnered with Rise Against Hunger Philippines, AGREA Foundation, and Puso ng Ama Foundation, a grassroots-based organization that extends social aid to impoverished communities, a statement showed.
For the intended farm area, there have already 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’s commitment to promote fruit and vegetable consumption globally is part of its 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.