11th January, Varanasi: Ultramarathon runner and water conservation advocate Mina Guli, completed her 3rd marathon in India and 154th overall, in the historic city of Varanasi. Through her marathons, Mina aims to raise awareness about the need to save water and water bodies across the world. Bayer, a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of agriculture and healthcare is partnering with Mina in her quest to run 200 marathons, to raise awareness about water issues, leading up to the first global United Nations (UN) water conference on World Water Day, 22 March 2023, in New York.
Mina began her marathon in the holy city of Varanasi, from the Taj Ganges, with a flag off by Mr. Dinesh Kumar Puri, the city’s Superintendent of Police (Traffic), and concluded it at the same spot, after covering other parts of Varanasi. A key objective of her runs in various cities is also to build a coalition of stakeholders whose actions are crucial in conserving and cleaning up water sources. In this context, farmers are one of the most crucial stakeholders. Soon after finishing the run, Mina visited a Better Life Farming Hub set up by Bayer, just outside the city of Varanasi. Better Life Farming (BLF) centers run by Agri entrepreneurs help smallholder farmers increase crop yields and farm incomes through sustainable methods. Mina interacted with farmers and highlighted the importance of water conservation in farming. The farmers informed Mina about various water-saving techniques adopted by them, that are helping save water.
Speaking about the initiative and her run in Varanasi, Mina Guli stated, “The river Ganga has been an integral part of Indian culture and religion for centuries and represents the country’s soul. With the RunBlue campaign, I am hoping to inspire more people to take action to keep the river healthy and supplement the government’s efforts in cleaning and rejuvenating this mighty river. Farmers are impacted the most by water challenges and visiting the Bayer BLF center allowed me to interact with the large farmer community around Varanasi. I was inspired by the farmers there, who understand the importance of water conservation and a healthy Ganga and have taken action to make sure that their practices are sustainable.”
The Better Life Farming centers are an example of how modern technology, and the right agronomy advisory can help increase crop yields while reducing water use and environmental damage. Bayer has already set up more than 1500 BLF centres across various parts of India. The Better Life Farming initiative has led to a doubling of crop yields and a tripling of farm incomes among participant farmers and is already impacting the lives of around half a million farmers in India. By 2025, Bayer’s BLF farming initiative aims to empower 2.5 million smallholder farmers in India by providing them access to modern Agri-inputs and improving their standard of living.
Thanking Mina Guli for her conservation efforts, Simon Wiebusch, Country Division Head for Bayer’s Crop Science Business in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka said, “Bayer’s commitment to water conservation and its efficient usage runs deep and I am grateful to sustainability champions like Mina Guli for spearheading this cause globally and in India and interacting with our farmers and Agri-entrepreneurs and raising awareness around the issue. To see the second leg of the #RunBlue campaign take place in Varanasi is extra special because this is the place where we laid down the foundation of our Better Life Farming (BLF) program with an aim to help millions of smallholders present in under-served geographies.”
Mina Guli’s next marathon, her 155th, is scheduled to be held in Thane, a city just outside Mumbai and home to around 30 lakes and also Bayer’s headquarters in India.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to help people and the planet thrive by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to drive sustainable development and generate a positive impact with its businesses. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. The Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability, and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2021, the Group employed around 100,000 people and had sales of 44.1 billion euros. R&D expenses before special items amounted to 5.3 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com
Communications Business Partner, Corporate - South Asia, Bayer
Senior Account Manager, Edelman