Bayer executives and employees join farmers in Dolores, Quezon for the opening of a community kubo at the Bayer Kubo or Bayer Learning Center. (Photo: Nadira Abubakar)
The Philippine population is estimated to be at 118 million citizens in 2023. These are Filipinos who depend on the country’s estimated 9.22 million agriculture workers for their sustenance. However, they are among the most marginalized groups in the country. Despite their valuable role in ensuring access to food, they lack access to resources that can help to improve and enrich their quality of life.
Bayer in the Philippines advocates for the Filipino farmer and supports them in their livelihood and life resources through the Bayer Kubo program together with implementing partner, the Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST Asia). Through the Bayer Kubo program, smallholder farmers and their families get expert-led capability and capacity building seminars combining health and agriculture by tackling family planning, self-care, and even basic financial literacy and tools that they can apply to ensure wellness and productivity outside of the fields. Launched in two pilot locations in Luzon, it has reached out to farming communities in Dolores, Quezon and Manaoag, Pangasinan.
"Bayer is here to help grow healthy crops and healthy communities. Since the launch last year, we’ve already reached more than 5,000 farmers in both sites. The Bayer Kubo and the network of demo farms and learning centers will continue to host programs on both health and agriculture – as part of our mission to achieve Health for All, Hunger for None," says Angel-Michael Evangelista, Managing Director and Country Division Head - Pharmaceuticals, Bayer Philippines Inc.
“Bayer Kubo is a unique and holistic program which integrates the CSR programs of Bayer's three business units. By delivering health training and awareness campaigns, as well as financial literacy for farmers, their wives and families, Bayer Kubo positively changed the lives and health of communities in Quezon and Pangasinan” says Francis Macatulad, Executive Director of ASSIST Asia. “Bayer Kubo is a good example of how business can effectively work with civil society to create long-lasting social impact among marginalized and underserved sectors. ASSIST is proud to have been partnered with Bayer for this initiative."
Growing farms, communities, dreams
The famers of Dolores, Quezon have already begun to see an improvement in their lives since the Bayer Kubo initiative was launched in their community. Riza Carabio and Rosemarie Tomacera, both farmer’s wives have planted the seeds from their financial literacy seminars and are looking forward to reap the rewards of their savings initiatives.
Risa gathered the 22 members of her women’s group together to save and deposit in an account at the Dolores Cooperative. “May mga meeting kami every second Thursday of the month at nagkasundo kami sa koleksyon na aming dineposito sa kooperatiba. Dahil sa natutunan namin sa Bayer Kubo, willing sila na mag-savings para sa kanilang sarili. Ang aming balak ay magkaroon kami ng mapaikot na pera para sa additional na pagkakakitaan at umaasa kami na makapag livelihood training upang mapalago naming ito.”
Rosemarie launched the same savings initiative with her women’s group. “Sa aming mga member, kung sino ang mangangailangan tulad ng puhunan upang makapagbukas ng negosyo may nakalaan na mula sa aming inimpok.”
Employee volunteers from Bayer Global Business Services Manila join a Financial Literacy session for farmers in Manaoag, Pangasinan. (Photo: Nadira Abubakar)
Bayer Kubo’s financial literacy training has likewise helped to inculcate the value of saving and budgeting among the farmers of Manaoag. Loretto Velloria says that with his savings, he was able to purchase goats as an additional source of livelihood. Naire Velloria, who runs a food business and who dreams of becoming a big-time entrepreneur says that she was able to apply her learnings about budgeting and adapted them to her enterprise. “Natuto ako tungkol sa pagsasa-ayos ng income at expenses at consumption na naaayon sa income. Kailangan mag sacrifice para sa budget, at huwag todo todo sa pag gastos para may perang ilalaan sa ibang pangangailangan.”
For her part, woman farmer Gina Galves, appreciates the reproductive health seminar that she attended. “Dito naiintindihan ang kahalagahan ng kalusugan ng kababaihan. Ang family planning ay isa sa mga paraan upang mapangalagaan ang pamilya at masiguro na may tamang agwat ang mga anak para sa kanilang kinabukasan.”
Farmers listen to a health seminar on proactive self-care in the new normal, getting tips on how to take better care of their health. (Photo: Nadira Abubakar)
Dominador Salindong, the partner-farmer of the Bayer Kubo demo farm in Manaoag, says that he has learned how to maximize his farm’s potential through the Bayer Kubo agricultural seminars and events. “Bahagi sila ng pag-unlad ng buhay ko, marami akong natutunan hindi lamang sa pagtatanim. Sana tuloy-tuloy ang pag-organisa ng mga magsasaka para ang buhay nila ay gumanda din.”
Eldrin Rubico, the Municipal Agriculturist of Dolores, Quezon welcomes the Bayer Kubo initiative as a way to bring added prosperity to their community, “kapag nadadagdagan ang kita ng bawat magsasaka, at ang bawat magsasaka ay kumikita ng maganda, ibig sabihin nagtatagumpay ang bayan.”
Iiinas Ivan Lao, Country Commercial Lead, Bayer Crop Science Philippines says that they will continue to grow the program to reach more Filipino farmers. "Tiyak na mas paiigtingin pa natin ang mga programa tungkol sa usaping agrikultura at pangkalusugan sa loob ng mga Bayer Kubo. Dahil ang masaganang ani ay nangangailangan ng sigla’t sikap ng malusog na magsasaka at komunidad." To listen to more farmer’s voices, watch the video on Bayer Crop Science Agricademy TV here.
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