Global agribusiness giant Archers Daniels Midland (ADM) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in India with German chemical company Bayer to develop a crop protection system for soyabean farmers over a three-year period, ADM announced.

ADM 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 centres.

The centres are staffed by agronomists who offer local farmers training in best agricultural practices, as well as procurement services.

ADM said its sustainability programme offered opportunities for smallholder farmers to get training in socio-economic and environmental sustainability principles and third-party audits, through the European organisation, ProTerra Foundation.

In the first year of the scheme, Bayer aims to reach 25,000 soyabean farmers in ADM’s network in the Latur, Osmanabad & Beed districts of Maharashtra and then expand to Karnataka, according to the 23 June statement.

During the period, Bayer would provide a specialised schedule of crop management – prepared in consultation with ADM and agricultural universities – for all the crops in the working area, ADM said.

Bayer will also develop a crop protection package for soyabean and pulse crops by providing legally permitted, non-hazardous crop protection chemicals as allowed under sustainable crop production principles, according to the statement.

As part of the partnership, ADM said it would provide Bayer with details of partner farmers and area of operations.

“In contrast to cereal production, India is far from self-sufficient in edible oil production, importing nearly 60% of its domestic edible oil requirement. Increasing the yield of soyabean cultivation sustainably is essential to reduce import dependency and increase income for soyabean farmers to increase the attractiveness of the crop,” Simon-Thorsten Wiebusch, Country Divisional Head – Crop Science Division of Bayer for India, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka, said.