Multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company, Bayer, will provide free seeds to 700,000 farmers impacted by COVID-19 in Africa.

The company has launched Better Farms, Better Lives initiative to assist smallholder farmers in Africa who are facing additional challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, by providing seeds and giving them market access.

This is line with the company’s mission of helping to build a world where there is Health for all, Hunger for none. In order to reach all the targeted farmers, Bayer will build partnerships with governments, recognized NGOs and local organisations to provide accelerated access to agronomy services and knowledge and scale up existing and new value chain partnerships and further expand value chain partnerships across Africa.

“Smallholder farmers are essential to providing food security to a billion people in Africa, but the on-going pandemic is placing extra challenges on their ability to produce food for their communities and beyond,” says Liam Condon, President of Bayer’s Crop Science Division.

“In line with our vision ‘Health for All, Hunger for None’, we are focused on providing smallholder farmers with the help they need to address immediate challenges while building resilience for the future, and working to ensure the pandemic does not turn from a health crisis to a hunger crisis,” notes Klaus Eckstein, Head of Africa, Crop Science Division.

In Kenya, Bayer will collaborate with Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and local County Governments to distribute 300 metric tones of Bayer’s Dekalb corn seed brand and Seminis vegetables seeds brand, to ten Counties including Bungoma, Tana River, Machakos and Narok.

“Together with partners, we aim to multiply the social and economic impact smallholder farmers can have in tackling poverty and hunger, improving health and livelihoods, and, ultimately, spurring economic development for their families, communities and nations,” adds Laurent Perrier, Managing Director Bayer East Africa Limited.