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Syngenta in Africa Agriculture is at the heart of rural economic development in Africa. Syngenta is working closely with rural communities to provide the technology and knowledge farmers need to increase yields and use their land efficiently and sustainably. This is essential to achieve the step-change in productivity required to meet the increasing demand for food of a population expected to double by 2050 to 1.8 billion people – and to improve the livelihoods of millions of subsistence farmers. As a world-leading company in agriculture, Syngenta provides the modern crop technology that Africa needs to increase yields and crop quality, protect against plant disease and pests, and improve rural livelihoods. The company is committed to training farmers how to use this technology effectively and promoting sustainable agricultural practices. Syngenta’s innovative seeds, seed care and crop protection products offer benefits for farmers ranging from soil preparation to harvest and beyond. Using modern breeding techniques, Syngenta creates high-yielding and high-quality seeds. Syngenta’s vegetable seeds are widely used in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa, for example. Modern breeding is also used to develop plant traits that resist pests or tolerate water shortages. Too little water, too many pests Water scarcity is one of the most pressing challenges for farmers in many areas of Africa and Syngenta is developing crop varieties that require less water. Unreliable rainfall affects yields and crop quality, and droughts can cause crops to fail. Syngenta has developed a new variety of tropical sugar beet to be grown in relatively dry conditions. After a successful pilot in India it is currently undergoing trials in Sudan. It also brings additional benefits for farmers – because of its short growth time, smallholders can boost their income by growing a second food crop in the same season. Seed care products such as CRUISER® protect seeds and young plants during the critical first few weeks of development, as well as improving plant vigor. Insecticides, Syngenta is developing fungicides and herbicides from Syngenta help farmers in crop varieties that Africa protect their crops from pests, disease and weeds. require less water. Cocoa farmers in West Africa, for example, use the Syngenta fungicide, RIDOMIL®, to control brown and black pod disease which can claim entire harvests. AMISTAR® is used to control a wide range of diseases affecting wheat, a staple food crop in much of North Africa and large parts of Sudan and Ethiopia. After harvest, ACTELLIC protects grain by effectively controlling moths and weevils that can cause devastating losses during storage. Insecticides such as EFORIA, which protects against caterpillars that attack tomatoes, help farmers maximize yields and the quality of vegetables to increase their income from selling cash crops. Syngenta herbicides such as GRAMOXONE® reduce the labor needed for hand-weeding and contribute to soil conservation by decreasing the need for tilling. Tailored business models An important element of Syngenta’s approach is to adapt business models to suit the diverse socio-economic conditions of African countries. The varied nature of agriculture across the continent means farmers’ needs are very different from one area to another, even when they are growing the same crop. The needs of a Moroccan farmer growing tomatoes for export are very different from a subsistence farmer growing wheat in Ethiopia or a large-scale sugar cane producer in South Africa. Farming methods may use traditional techniques or modern machinery, while levels of knowledge and literacy vary widely. Syngenta’s Agadir research centre in Morocco breeds new vegetable varieties and Kaha Station, the Syngenta development center in Egypt, carries out research on crops and solutions specifically suited to African agriculture. It is a centre of expertise for the surrounding farming community, regularly engaging in joint trial projects and supporting training for distributors and end users on the application of our crop protection products. Training for better farming It is vital to raise awareness of the technologies available and to train farmers how to use them. Training local retailers about safe and effective use of crop protection products is also an effective way to pass on knowledge to farmers. Syngenta educates retailers about cropping, diseases, product selection, safe storage, transport and the use of products. This helps retailers help their customers to find the best solutions and provide appropriate products to secure and enhance yields. In South Africa, for example, Syngenta has trained 23 trainers on responsible use of crop protection products with the aim of reaching 1,000 farmers. By reducing pesticide residues in their fruit and vegetables, this helps farmers access new markets by achieving certification to standards such as GlobalGAP. In Nigeria, Syngenta trained more than 900 farmers and 90 agricultural students and extension staff on the safe use of crop protection products in 2007 and 2008. A training program for 3,000 farmers in the arid area of Laikipia in Kenya has helped them combat declining, unreliable crop yields. It also highlighted the need to make crop protection products more accessible to smallholders. So in 2008 Syngenta launched a range of small packs at an affordable price. Branded Uwezo (meaning ‘ability’ in Swahili), these products are helping to increase farmers’ incomes by improving crop yields and quality in a region It is vital to raise where food is scarce. Farmers who have used the Uwezo awareness of the range have reported productivity gains of up to 50%, making technologies available this a valuable tool for combating poverty levels in rural and to train farmers Africa. how to use them. Improving health and livelihoods For smallholder farmers in Africa, weeds present a constant threat to the survival of their crops. Around 25 tons of weeds per hectare compete with crops for space, nutrients, light and water. Yield losses can range from 25 percent to total crop failure. Between 50 and 70 percent of the total labor needed to produce a crop can go on hand-weeding, with a typical one- hectare smallholder farm requiring an average of 200 hours of hand-weeding each year. Most of this is done by women, walking around 10 kilometers in a stooped position to weed just one hectare. This results in back problems and sometimes permanent deformities to the spine. Nearly 70 percent of farmers’ children also help with weeding, keeping them away from school. Syngenta herbicides provide cheaper and more effective weed control – at around half the cost of labor required for hand-weeding maize fields in West Africa, for example. Herbicides can be applied using backpack sprayers, preventing the need for bending and significantly reducing the time and labor needed to control weeds. This improves the health of women working on the farms and frees up children to attend school, while the higher yields make it easier for farmers to pay school fees. Acting against malaria Farmers in many African regions that are well suited to agriculture face a health threat from malaria-carrying insects. Agriculture and malaria are inextricably linked, sharing the same three basic requirements: heat, water and people. Ninety percent of all reported malaria cases are in sub- Saharan Africa, with nearly one million deaths every year. Wide-spread ill health affects farm productivity, reducing available labor. As a result, smallholder farmers often choose to plant staple crops for subsistence rather than more labor- intensive cash crops. In endemic areas, absenteeism as a result of ill health can also affect productivity and profitability of large-scale operations. Syngenta plays a leading role in preventing malaria through a broad portfolio of products to control mosquitoes and through partnerships with government and non-governmental initiatives. The ICON insecticide range protects homes with treated mosquito nets and kits to spray indoor surfaces. More than nine million households have already been treated with Syngenta products in 2009. This is complemented by training to identify the source of mosquitoes and understand how to use our products safely and effectively. Collaboration and partnership Syngenta has a dedicated team in sub-Saharan Africa to support national health ministries. By providing specialized expertise they can work effectively in partnership with local organizations and deliver the maximum benefit to communities at risk. Syngenta continues its own research and development into new insecticides as well as collaborating with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Innovative Vector Control Consortium. Syngenta is also contributing £1 million to support scientific innovation and promote access to technology in Africa Syngenta supports through the Pan African Chemistry Network (PACN), in scientific innovation collaboration with the Royal Society of Chemistry. Launched and promotes access in 2008 in Kenya, the network is looking for ways to reduce to technology through disease, and secure clean water and sustainable food the PACN. supplies.
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