From left to right: Iiinas Ivan Lao, Country Commercial Lead, Bayer Crop Science Philippines; Angel Michael Evangelista, Managing Director and Country Division Head - Pharmaceuticals, Bayer Philippines, Inc.; Francis Macatulad, Executive Director, ASSIST; Franz Raña, Social Actions Manager, ASSIST. (Photo: Nadira Abubakar)
The pandemic lockdowns have disrupted farming communities and stretched out rural healthcare networks with farmers still struggling to recover and boost productivity. To support the agricultural community, global life sciences firm Bayer Philippines Inc. is launching a pilot Bayer Kubo in Manaoag, Pangasinan with the Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) to run capability and capacity building programs combining health and agriculture by tackling family planning, self-care and nutrition, as well as agri-oriented financial management and best practices.
The program will be piloted in Brgy. Cabanbanan in Manaoag, supporting the community of smallholder farmers surrounding the Bayer Learning Center located in the area. The Bayer Learning Center is a venue for farmers in the community where they can learn best practices and see the latest solutions available for vegetable production. With the Bayer Kubo program in place, women farmers and farmers’ wives can get expert-led training on family planning, farmer self-care, and basic farm financial management.
"This Bayer Kubo is where Bayer in the Philippines is bringing together our three divisions: Consumer Health, Pharmaceuticals, and Crop Science under one program to support our farmers,” says Angel Michael Evangelista, Managing Director and Country Division Head - Pharmaceuticals for Bayer Philippines Inc. “With the growing role of women in Philippine agriculture, who face competing demands to care for their families while ensuring they contribute to farm work and productivity, we aim to support women farmers and farmers’ wives’ through health, wellness, and sustainable agricultural practices – contributing to Bayer’s vision of “Health for all, Hunger for none.” Through the pilot program, Bayer Philippines and ASSIST aim to empower over 100 women farmers as Community Champions that will ensure continued knowledge sharing and capacity building to train additional 1,500 community members on the best practices of family planning, farmer self-care, and smallholder farmer support.
Farmers on field tour at the Bayer Kubo Learning Center in Brgy. Cabanbanan, Manaoag Pangasinan.
“As ASSIST moves forward in this partnership with Bayer Philippines, we will remain committed in creating more capacity-building opportunities that fit the needs of the women farming communities in Manaoag, Pangasinan. We acknowledge that other farming communities would greatly benefit from our intervention. As such, we hope to replicate the Bayer Kubo program in other farming communities and locations in the Philippines,” said Francis Macatulad, Executive Director of ASSIST.
The Bayer Kubo is Bayer Philippines’ local corporate social engagement (CSE) program that started out by encouraging and supporting communities to grow their own produce while encouraging an integrated, holistic approach to growing nutritional food using responsible agricultural practices. To date, Bayer Philippines has established three Bayer Kubo across different communities: in Ususan, Taguig; in Calauan, Laguna; and in Payatas, Quezon City in partnership with NGOs such as Rise Against Hunger and AGREA.
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Located in different sites across the country, the Bayer Kubo is a venue built with NGO partners for communities to grow vegetable crops and train residents on how to adopt sustainable agricultural practices. Inspired by the lines of the traditional folk song Bahay Kubo, it’s a space where residents and community members can grow a variety of vegetables to meet the needs of their community.