Bayer CropScience signs cooperation agreement with GIZ
New Delhi, India, October 9, 2013 – Today Bayer CropScience signed a cooperation agreement with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH for the Affordable Nutritious Foods for Women (ANF4W) project at the Rice Future Forum in New Delhi, India.
Focusing on women of reproductive age, the ANF4W project aims to increase the local supply and demand of affordable nutritious foods presently lacking in many markets in Asia and Africa. Bayer CropScience and GIZ will be collaborating in Bangladesh, where the objective is to improve the nutrient intake of women of reproductive age in regard to iron, zinc, as well as potentially calcium, folic acid, vitamins A and B6.
These nutrients are regarded as fundamental particularly during the so-called “first 1,000 days” of a child’s life, i.e. the critical window of pregnancy through the first two years after birth. Pursuing innovative solutions, the project will explore pathways based on micronutrient-enhanced agricultural practices and inputs in rice as well as vegetables and legumes.
“We firmly believe that with the right agronomic practices, as well as an improved nutrient supply of crops through inputs, we can eventually enhance the nutrient uptake and thereby alleviate the issue of malnutrition especially among women and children in Bangladesh,” said Joerg Rehbein, Head of Bayer CropScience, Indian Subcontinent.
Christel Weller-Molongua, Department Head of Rural Development and Agriculture in GIZ commented: “Agricultural techniques that improve micronutrient intake can benefit all, in particular for women and children. We are therefore looking at developing and implementing an approach that focuses on raising awareness and training farmers in nutrition-sensitive agricultural practices.”
ANF4W is part of the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) fulfillment between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and was launched on January 29, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. GIZ is implementing the project on behalf of BMZ within the framework of the develoPPP.de-program. Further partners are Aglukon, a foliar fertilizer company and McCann Health, a global communication specialist in awareness campaigns.
The cooperation agreement signed between Bayer CropScience and GIZ for implementation of the ANF4W project in Bangladesh is a pilot running for 18 months, with the intention to develop this into a full project, covering additional countries and crops. Investment of all parties involved amounts to about 1.2 million Euros.
“This innovative cooperation between GIZ on behalf of BMZ, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Bayer CropScience is the first one in South Asia and hopefully builds the ground for further food and nutrition security projects in this region,” said Stefan Helming, Country Director of GIZ in India.
Seen in the picture, from L-R:
Mr Hartmut van Lengerich, Head of Global Strategy for Cereals, Rice and Oilseeds, Bayer CropScience;
Mr Stefan Helming, Country Director of GIZ in India;
Ms Christel Weller-Molongua, Department Head of Rural Development and Agriculture in GIZ;
Mr Joerg Rehbein, Head of Bayer CropScience, Indian Subcontinent;
Mr Richard Rogers, Senior Program Officer, Access & Markets from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
World hunger – Of the hidden kind
While the consequences of “visible” hunger are well known, “hidden” hunger is showing an alarming upward trend in many countries, despite a multitude of interventions. “Hidden” hunger, or malnutrition, refers to the insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals as micronutrients.
Currently, an estimated two billion people worldwide are affected by micronutrient deficiencies, which in turn have a detrimental effect on people’s health, productivity and life expectancy.
The situation in Bangladesh exemplifies these facts. In 2011, 24 percent of Bangladeshi women of reproductive age were underweight. Specific nutrients that are lacking include protein and energy sources such as carbohydrates, fats and oils, as well as micronutrients including calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin A and B6, and zinc.
As a result, 36 percent of Bangladeshi children were underweight, with acute malnutrition affecting 16 percent of children. 51 percent were anaemic, which poses a severe public health concern.
Improving nutrition through agriculture
Nutrition-sensitive agriculture has shown a tight link to improved nutrition for women of reproductive age. Diets of rural households in Bangladesh tend to rely primarily on one staple crop, which is often rice, with inadequate intake of non-staple foods with a high content of micronutrients. Therefore, options for improving the nutrition of women include increasing micronutrients in staple crops and vegetables, and diversifying diets by ensuring access to diverse, nutritious foods.
“Bayer CropScience is committed to collaborating across the public and private sectors to help enhance world food security and nutrition,” said Hartmut van Lengerich, Head of Global Strategy for Cereals, Rice and Oilseeds at Bayer CropScience. “We therefore believe the ANF4W project is a good opportunity to specifically look at nutrition-sensitive agricultural interventions as part of our integrated crop management solutions,” he added.
Besides rice, Bayer CropScience will also look into extending its integrated crop management offer to vegetables and/or legumes. In addition, the cooperation involves generating a credible data set on selected nutrition relevant micronutrients such as zinc and iron in the final agricultural produce and comparing these against market standards.
About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. This year the company looks back on 150 years of working to fulfill its mission “Bayer: Science For A Better Life”. Bayer CropScience, the subgroup of Bayer AG responsible for the agricultural business, has annual sales of EUR 8,383 million (2012) and is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company offers an outstanding range of products including high value seeds, innovative crop protection solutions based on chemical and biological modes of action as well as an extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture. In the area of non-agricultural applications, Bayer CropScience has a broad portfolio of products and services to control pests from home and garden to forestry applications. The company has a global workforce of 20,800 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available at: www.bayercropscience.com
About the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
IRRI, or the International Rice Research Institute, is a nonprofit independent research and training organization. IRRI is a member of the CGIAR Consortium. IRRI develops new rice varieties and rice crop management techniques that help rice farmers improve the yield and quality of their rice in an environmentally sustainable way. It works with public and private sector partners in national agricultural research and extension systems in major rice-growing countries to do research, training, and knowledge transfer. Its social and economic research also informs governments to help them formulate policy to improve the equitable supply of rice.
About the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise with worldwide operations. GIZ supports the German Government in the fields of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education. Through its work GIZ assists people and societies in shaping their own future and improving living conditions.
Corporate Communications, Bayer Group in India
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Find more information at www.bayercropscience.com and www.ricefutureforum.com.
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