Improving farm incomes & livelihoods for apple farmers in Himachal Pradesh

Bayer launches project to strengthen apple value chain in India

Hands_holding_apples

Shimla, April 29, 2021: India has nearly 3,14,000 hectares under apple cultivation, with an annual production of 25,00,000 metric tons . Compared to global averages of major apple growing markets in China, USA and Europe ranging between 18 to 35 metric tons / hectare (mt/ha), India’s apple productivity is quite low at 8 mt/ha . This is due to a high incidence of fungal & bacterial diseases, insect pests and adverse weather. These coupled with lack of market linkages and efficient value chains, are limiting the productivity and profitability of India’s apple farmers. 

 

In Himachal Pradesh, India’s largest apple growing state, farmers grapple with low productivity as a result of small landholdings, climate change, rising costs of production and lack of adequate infrastructure for post-harvest management, storage, transport, and food processing. This has led to a significant reduction of farm profitability and incomes for apple farmers in the state – with detrimental consequences for food security, local employment opportunities and economic prospects for younger generations. 

 

In order to facilitate modernization of India’s apple value chain, Bayer CropScience Limited is partnering with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH for a three-year collaborative project. Bayer and GIZ have already worked together from 2015 to 2018 in the AVID project (Apple Value Chain Interventions for Development) that was undertaken in key districts of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. Today, Bayer and GIZ reaffirmed the cooperation for another three years, from 2021 to 2023. 

 

The new project will support over 5,500 apple smallholders in Himachal Pradesh with better access to high-quality agri-inputs and agronomic advisory to make apple farming disease and climate resilient. This Public Private Partnership (PPP) between Bayer and GIZ will work on creating efficient supply chains, establishing market linkages, and bringing in value chain interventions to improve the incomes and livelihoods of apple smallholders. Rural job creation and strengthening local Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) will be another focal point for Bayer and GIZ. Further, project farmers will receive early warning advisory on weather and disease incidence through Bayer’s Digital Prediction System. 

 

Speaking about Bayer’s role in the collaboration, D. Narain, CEO & Managing Director, Bayer Crop Science Limited and Global Sponsor for Bayer’s Smallholder Farming initiative, said, “We are looking at targeted interventions for apple smallholders such as digital advisory, integrated crop management solutions and creating income resilience. Bayer has set up three weather stations in Himachal Pradesh, which will collect data that will be processed through our Digital Prediction System to provide disease management advisory. Two FPOs will be supported with market linkages under Bayer’s Better Life Farming platform. Five Apple Model Farms will be established to showcase good agricultural practices, demonstrate correct spraying techniques and create capacity building for farmers on agronomy, safe and responsible use of pesticides, supply chain management, business skills and technical know-how.”

 

The new project is part of the ‘One World No Hunger’ initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). An important element in GIZ’s approach is connecting the private sector, research institutions and local stakeholders to introduce value chain developments. By setting up structures and introducing innovations that enhance productivity, improve the incomes of smallholder farmers, and create more employment opportunities (particularly in food processing) a useful contribution for sustainable value chains is made. This helps to create a positive impact on farm livelihoods as well as contributes to food security while simultaneously providing ecologically sustainable solutions overall.

 

The project also seeks to collaborate with key institutions such as the Dr. YS Parmar University for Horticulture and Forestry in Solan, Himachal Pradesh; the State Department of Agriculture; Government of Himachal Pradesh and HPMC (Himachal Pradesh Horticultural Produce Marketing And Processing Corporation Ltd.) to leverage synergies, promote knowledge sharing and technical exchange, and jointly undertake capacity building measures. Multiple knowledge sharing events such as ‘Annual Apple Forums’ and stakeholder consultations will be undertaken to share learnings from the project with a wider community of stakeholders in order to meaningfully address existing issues in India’s apple value chain. 

 

As for social impact, special emphasis will be given to rural job creation, skill enhancement, and the empowerment of women smallholders & rural youth. Through continuous training programs, project farmers will receive exposure and expertise on international apple cultivation practices from other apple growing regions in the world. The introduction of relevant digital tools and the strengthening of farmer cooperatives will be a game changer for apple growers in Himachal Pradesh and may help enhance India’s export capabilities in apples.

 

Sources

1.Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, 2018-19 data, https://agricoop.nic.in

 

About Bayer

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 our 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 2020, the Group employed around 100,000 people and had sales of 41.4 billion euros. R&D expenses before special items amounted to 4.9 billion euros. For more information, please visit www.bayer.com.

 

Media Contact

Saswati Panigrahi 
Communications, Bayer CropScience Limited 
E-mail: saswati.panigrahi@bayer.com  

 

Forward-Looking Statements

This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports, which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.