MUMBAI, INDIA — Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) and Bayer will partner on a sustainable crop management program to benefit thousands of soybean farmers in India as part of a memorandum of understanding the companies announced they had signed June 23.

ADM, a global leader in the processing of oilseeds into edible oils, animal feeds and feed ingredients, has a large network of farmers in the Indian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka, through Krishi Vikas Kendras’ (KVK) network of more than 50 crop development and procurement centers.

The centers are staffed by agronomists who offer local farmers training in best agricultural practices, as well as procurement services. ADM’s Sustainability Program creates opportunities for small landholding farmers to get training in socioeconomic and environmental sustainability principles and third-party audits, through the European organization, ProTerra Foundation.

Bayer, a global health care, nutrition and agricultural sciences company, aims to reach 25,000 soybean farmers in ADM’s network in the first year. Bayer will provide a specialized schedule of crop management prepared in consultation with ADM and agricultural universities for all the crops in the working area as and when required. It also will develop a crop protection package for all crops of soybean and pulses by providing legally permitted, non-hazardous crop protection chemicals as allowed under sustainable crop production principles. 

ADM will provide Bayer with details regarding the partner farmers and area of operations. Bayer will follow a seed-to-market approach with the inclusion of sustainability elements such as complete package promotion of seed treatment, pesticides and agronomic advisory along with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices. It also will demonstrate good agricultural practices on demonstration plots and conduct field visits for extending practical experience to farmers. 

“In contrast to cereal production, India is far from self-sufficient in edible oil production, importing nearly 60% of its domestic edible oil requirement,” said Simon-Thorsten Wiebusch, country divisional head, Crop Science Division of Bayer for India, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka. “Increasing the yield of soybean cultivation sustainably is essential to reduce import dependency and increase the income for soybean farmers to increase the attractiveness of the crop. We are thankful to ADM for their willingness to be a part of creating a holistic ecosystem that will help improve smallholder farmer incomes by sustainably enhancing their soybean yield through the right market linkages and helping India achieve self-sufficiency.” 

Regular training will be provided to the ADM cluster agronomist team in soybean markets on complete crop cultivation practices such as nutrition and pesticide schedules, BayG.A.P and Proterra principle (train the trainer) training. ADM will help Bayer put in place an input supply mechanism for its member farmers. It will further ensure that the partner farmers are using the crop protection inputs as per expert recommendations of the Bayer team. Seed treatment training also will be provided through Bayer Roller Mixer machines at the sowing time following all safety protocols.