Yields more than doubled during 4-year project with smallholder farmers


Farmers benefit from Bayer’s outreach, knowledge transfer and potato training.

Bayer presented challenges and best practice experiences with the implementation of its Root2Successs™ concept on the continent, during the African Potato Association congress in Kigali, Rwanda. This holistic concept supports sustainable production systems covering crop rotation, soil preparation, catch and cover crops and the use of the innovative crop protection products Emesto™, Velum™ and Serenade™.

The 4-year experience with Bayer’s smallholder project in Kenya underpinned the success of the Root2Success concept: farmer yields were increased by a factor of 2 to 4. Farmer income increased by factors ranging from 3 to 10. Diana Gitonga, Manager Smallholder Farming Bayer East Africa is excited about their strong support of the smallholder farmers and governmental organizations: “It is extremely rewarding to receive so many positive responses from farmers. Farmers are happy and thankful for Bayer’s outreach, knowledge transfer and potato training to improve their incomes.”

Both, potatoes and sweet potatoes, are rich in starch and contain high levels of essential vitamins and minerals contributing to food security and to a healthy diet. African farmers grow potatoes in narrow rotations, due to economic pressure and the lack of alternative cash crops. This environment contributes to the development of soil-borne pests and diseases, and farmers face serious yield and quality losses. Soil diseases caused by Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Streptomyces and Ralstonia are an increasing problem, amplified by the presence of nematodes such as Meloidogyne, Globodera and Pratylenchus spp. In addition, some soil diseases and nematode species transmit viruses as well (Tobacco Rattle Virus, Potato Mop-Top Virus).

Serenade is a biological fungicide based on the novel strain QST 713 of Bacillus subtilis. The product suppresses soil diseases and enhances crop tolerance to abiotic stress. Emesto is based on the fungicide active ingredient penflufen for effective control of Rhizoctonia solani by tuber and or furrow treatment. Velum is a breakthrough innovation for broad spectrum nematode control based on fluopyram with a new mode of action, low dosages and very favorable toxicological and eco-toxicological profile.

Tailored agronomic solutions with innovative crop protection products and services can help control soil diseases and nematodes, effectively increasing sustainability in potato production. Bayer’s root health strategy, Root2Succes, which includes intensive training programs, offers growers insight into the biology of healthy, high performing roots and targets key challenges that threaten root health, to maintain or optimize root functionality in vegetables and potatoes. The concept aims to improve the resilience of the root system by optimizing cropping systems and application technologies of crop protection products, improving pest and disease control and activation of the plants own defense machinery.

The Root2Success concept is one of the strategic initiatives of Bayer’s global horticulture strategy contributing to sustainable farming practices, reducing the use of farm inputs and empowering more than 100 million smallholders. This holistic approach and the open partnerships generate added value for all partners involved and improve the livelihood of rural communities. Bayer is excited to partner with private and governmental organizations to expand the Root2Success concept to further improve sustainable farming practices.