|Bayer Vietnam kicks off its ‘Safe Use Ambassador Initiative’ (SUA) in the form of a contest for agricultural students at the College of Agriculture - Cần Thơ University and University of Agriculture and Forestry - Huế University.|
THỪA THIÊN-HUẾ – Bayer Vietnam recently kicked off its ‘Safe Use Ambassador Initiative’ (SUA) in the form of a contest for agricultural students at the College of Agriculture - Cần Thơ University and University of Agriculture and Forestry - Huế University.
It is meant to provide exposure to safe use of pesticides to the students, who will be the ultimate ambassadors for the transfer of technologies from universities to farmers.
Pesticides help farmers grow more food on less land by protecting crops from pests, diseases and weeds and securing optimum yields.
But the application of pesticides and protection products (CPPs) requires the greatest possible care. A lack of knowledge of safe use of CPPs remains a pressing issue among stakeholders across the world, and often leads to avoidable risks to human health and the environment.
To drive knowledge transfer in smallholder communities by extending the outreach of its training efforts, Bayer launched the initiative in 2017 to create a network of stakeholders who are able to share their advice on safe use with growers.
It is partnering with universities in the Asia-Pacific region to foster an exchange of know-how on best practices in the use of crop protection products by bringing students and farmers together.
It reached 40 universities in eight countries in 2020, and trained more than 10,000 students as certified Bayer Safe Use Ambassadors so far. They have in turn trained thousands of farmers during their farm visits and internships.
Chu Việt Hà, head of the crop science division at Bayer Vietnam, shared: “Farmer safety is at the core of our sustainability strategy and needs to be addressed in partnership with relevant stakeholders.
“As an industry leader in agriculture, Bayer works diligently to ensure that the company’s products, services and technologies are safe, sustainable and environmentally responsible, while meeting grower expectations and needs.
“A key part of this is ensuring our employees and growers are trained to use our products responsibly, ecologically and effectively—from the handling and application of the products to the disposal of empty containers.”
In Việt Nam, since its launch in 2017, the Bayer SUA Initiative has attracted the participation of more than 300 students and farmers.
This year it returns to the College of Agriculture - Cần Thơ University and, for the first time, extends its reach to the University of Agriculture and Forestry - Huế University.
The Safe Use Ambassador program challenges students to submit and implement a knowledge transfer plan to improve local farmers' and applicators' understanding of safe and responsible handling and disposal of crop protection products.
All candidates will join training on crop protection products and be provided with technology supports and guidance to put ideas into practice.
After the final evaluation, one student with the best performing project will be selected as Bayer Safe Use Ambassador. The winner will get the opportunity to join a training trip to Germany and interact with scientists and experts alongside winners from other countries.
Shortlisted students with impressive projects will be also offered an internship opportunity at Bayer Vietnam.
Dr Lê Văn Vàng, head of the College of Agriculture and Applied Biology, Cần Thơ University, said, “Appropriate personal protective equipment and proper disposal of pesticide containers limit farmers’ exposure to chemicals to reduce the risk of adverse health effects when applying those products.
“We believe with Bayer's expertise and networks in agriculture, this programme can provide students with the best learning environment to improve their knowledge and prepare themselves for a future career in the agricultural sector.”
Nguyễn Đăng Huấn, the 2019 Winner of Safe Use Ambassador, said: “Being the winner of the Bayer SUA is one of the most memorable things that happened during my student days. This program provided me with practical knowledge, sharpened my soft skills and widened my networks in the agricultural sector, which is very helpful for me in pursuing future career goals. Additionally, becoming the Bayer Safe Use Ambassador made me more aware of the urgent need to progress toward sustainable agriculture as well as my responsibility in promoting product stewardship among farming communities to minimise risks to human health and protect the environment.”