* Pragati Diwas is an annual event held by Bayer’s Vegetable Seeds business to showcase its high-yielding Seminis® hybrid seeds and good agricultural practices for vegetable cultivation
* The event is being held from January 28 to February 2 at Bayer’s 159-acre mega breeding station near Bengaluru, with all necessary health and safety precautions
* Over 300 farmers, institutional customers, channel partners, government officials, scientists and students will participate in the week-long event
Bayer’s Vegetable Seeds business is hosting its fourth, annual edition of ‘Pragati Diwas’ at its mega breeding station in Chikaballapur, near Bengaluru. The event which starts today, will showcase over 120 high-yielding hybrid seeds across 14 fruit and vegetable crops, including tomatoes, hot pepper, watermelon, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber and beans. It will also enable knowledge transfer to farmers on good agricultural practices for vegetable cultivation.
Besides in-person visits, the event will also be open for virtual participation. Over 300 visitors, including progressive farmers, institutional customers, channel partners, government officials, scientists, students and academia from local agricultural universities will participate in the week-long event that concludes on February 2. To ensure health and safety of visitors at Pragati Diwas, the activities will be spread over a week, with each day dedicated to a specific group of stakeholders.
The inaugural day on January 28 was dedicated to farmers and showcased new hybrid seed varieties and good agricultural practices for vegetable cultivation. Four new varieties of Seminis® vegetable seeds were unveiled at the event, including ‘Anshuman’ in tomato, ‘SVHA9093’ in hot pepper, ‘Bazlet’ in cucumber and ‘Himgauri’ in cauliflower. These varieties will be commercially launched in 2021. Bayer agronomists held in-depth discussions with farmers on topics such as choosing the right hybrid seed based on local growing conditions, integrated crop management from seed to harvest, and best practices for disease & pest management.
Addressing stakeholders at Pragati Diwas, K. Muthu, Head of Bayer Vegetable Seeds, South Asia & South East Asia, said, “With increasing demand for high-quality, nutritious fruits and vegetables in India, Bayer is focusing on innovative, next-generation of Seminis® hybrids suited to changing consumer tastes and preferences. Besides seeds, we are supporting farmers with integrated crop solutions including crop protection, advisory and digital farming solutions. These are tailored to suit farmers’ individual requirements and varied growing conditions.” Adding further, K. Muthu stated, “Our overall goal is to enhance access to safe, nutritious, affordable foods, including fruits and vegetables for India’s growing population and strengthen the role of smallholder farmers in sustainable farming of vegetables.”
Visitors at Pragati Diwas got to sample fresh fruits and vegetables cultivated from Seminis® hybrids at specially set up tasting counters. Among the highlights at the event was Bayer’s new, yellow watermelon variety – ‘Yellow Gold’, which is set to refresh watermelon lovers during the upcoming hot summer months. The new variety is the result of innovative breeding and comes with a novel look, sweeter flavor, bold taste, fewer seeds and a thicker rind than the popular red variety of watermelons. The thicker rind is especially beneficial for long distance transport and helps curtail food loss.
Visitors also toured Bayer’s 159-acre mega breeding station in Chikaballapur, which integrates state-of-the art R&D laboratories, trial fields and greenhouses under one roof. Set up in 2012, the ₹ 25 crore site is strategic to Bayer’s Crop Science business. The site not only caters to research on new hybrid seed varieties of corn and vegetables for India, but also for South Asia and South East Asia.
2021 has been earmarked by the United Nations as the “International Year of Fruits & Vegetables” and Bayer is committed to support this initiative throughout the year and beyond. In December 2020, Bayer had announced its entry to the home garden segment and launched mini packs of vegetable seeds for bitter gourd, bottle gourd, okra and beans. The mini packs come in three sizes: packs of 25 seeds, 50 seeds and 100 seeds. In 2021, Bayer plans to extend its mini packs across the entire range of its Seminis® hybrid seeds and provide smallholder farmers greater choice in cultivating their own vegetables. Bayer will extend these mini packs to urban markets to cater to kitchen and hobby gardeners and encourage people to grow their own vegetables.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2019, the Group employed around 104,000 people and had sales of € 43.5 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to € 2.9 billion and R&D expenses to € 5.3 billion.