Business & Finance
Bayer Foundation announces Social Innovation ecosystem fund for African smallholder farmers
4 September 2019 -

The Bayer Foundation, a philanthropic entity formed by Germany-based pharmaceutical company, Bayer, yesterday launched its new EUR20m Social Innovation ecosystem fund by awarding EUR3m to four pioneering social innovators - myAgro, MercyCorps, Path and Living Goods.

According to the company, the fund aims to scale up technology and entrepreneurial solutions that empower African smallholder farmers to lift themselves out of poverty.

Bayer's four awardees will provide over 1 million people in African farmer households with access to entrepreneurial solutions that increase their crop yields and access to health services. Bayer says that the investment fuels its objective to improve the lives of 100 million people - smallholder farmers and their family members - by 2030.

Monika Lessl, executive director of the Bayer Foundation, said, 'With our funding, we aim to provide health and agricultural expertise and services to smallholder farmer communities via local organisations. The support will enable smallholder farmers to further develop their entrepreneurial ideas, create jobs and increase their income. This can only be achieved in a systems' approach, which is why we are building an inclusive ecosystem of cross-sector partnerships.'

The four awardees will use the funding to scale innovative nutrition and health programs across Senegal, Mali and Uganda. myAgro will train 200,000 smallholder farmers in Mali and Senegal to increase their yields, and provide health interventions, including de-worming and nutrition trainings, for 250,000 children in farming households. MercyCorps will deploy a revolutionary data platform based on weather, GPS and crop type to connect 200,000 smallholder farmers with farming input providers. Living Goods will train 350 community health workers in Uganda to reach 280,000 families, strengthening the country's health system. Path will deploy a program to fight malaria in the Tambacounda region in Senegal. This initiative will reach 125,000 people directly and 700,000 via TV spots, as part of its effort to eliminate malaria in these farming communities.