Navigating towards sustainable growth with agriculture and healthcare approaches

By Thy An   April 19, 2024 | 07:00 pm PT
The Forbes Sustainability Leaders' Summit in Vietnam, titled "The Green Growth Future" gathered experts and business leaders to discuss low-carbon economies, climate change, and sustainable development.

As one of the world's fastest-growing economies, Vietnam is at the crossroads of sustainable development.

During 2021–2030, Vietnam's sustainable economic development will heavily depend on the efficient management of natural resources and production methods.

However, with over 3,200 km of coastline, low-lying terrain, and river delta areas, Vietnam is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change globally.

Discussion Session Collective action at the Forbes Sustainability Leaders. Photo courtesy of Thanh Thanh

Discussion session "Collective action" at the Forbes Sustainability Leaders' Summit in HCMC, April 9, 2024. Photo courtesy of Thanh Thanh

At the conference, experts and business leaders agreed that Vietnam should take drastic action to address pressing climate issues.

Vietnam is likely to face the devastating and irreversible economic consequences of climate change if no joint efforts and decisive, timely actions are taken.

Ingo Brandenburg, Bayer Vietnam's Managing Director, highlighted the company's commitment to sustainability and its alignment with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the panel discussion titled "Collective Action."

Ingo emphasized that Bayer's mission, "Health for all, hunger for none," guides their actions and sets clear targets for sustainability.

He further stated that Bayer has collaborated with key partners in Vietnam to launch various initiatives aimed at contributing to global targets while creating a tangible impact on society and the environment.

Globally, Bayer aims to support 100 million smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries and meet the contraceptive needs of 100 million women by 2030.

The company also seeks to enhance the availability and affordability of healthcare products in these regions.

As part of this strategy, Bayer is actively working to improve access to quality healthcare and self-care solutions in Vietnam.

Through community-based health education programs, the company has partnered with healthcare professionals and organizations to provide free health education sessions on a wide range of topics, including stroke prevention and eye conditions. These sessions are conducted through various platforms, including social media.

A remarkable example of Bayer's commitment to community health in Vietnam is their collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

Through the Patient Support Program, Bayer has distributed approximately 2 million boxes of multivitamin supplements to hospitals and healthcare units across the country, effectively improving access to essential nutrition, particularly for vulnerable populations.

In a recent development, 500,000 boxes were recently allocated to the Vietnam Young Physicians Association to aid their widespread humanitarian medical efforts in 49 provinces.

Focusing on remote and resource-limited areasreaffirms Bayer’s commitment to addressing healthcare disparities and advancing nutritional care.

Bayer has set an ambitious climate goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

To facilitate this global objective, the company is taking significant measures, such as striving for climate neutrality at its sites, reducing emissions throughout its supply chain, curbing greenhouse gas emissions in key agricultural crops, and mitigating the environmental impact of its crop protection products by 2030.

Ingo Brandenburg, Managing Director of Bayer Vietnam shared at the event. Photo by Thanh Thanh

Ingo Brandenburg, Managing Director of Bayer Vietnam, speaks at the event. Photo by Thanh Thanh

In a strategic partnership with the National Agricultural Extension Center under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Bayer Vietnam announced the launch of the ForwardFarming initiative in Vietnam.

The first ForwardFarm in Southeast Asia was inaugurated in Thoi Lai District of Can Tho as part of this public-private partnership program.

Noteworthy partners in the rice value chain, including Binh Dien Fertilizer, Sai Gon Kim Hong, and Thuan Thang Cooperatives, are also involved in the initiative.

The primary objective of the initiative in Vietnam is to promote sustainability in agriculture across three key areas.

Firstly, it focuses on crop care, providing tailored farming solutions for local rice farmers.

Secondly, it emphasizes planet and people care, with proactive stewardship to protect health, safety, and the environment responsibly.

Finally, it underscores the importance of partnerships with value chain stakeholders to deliver holistic solutions to farmers.

The initiative places particular emphasis on climate-smart farming techniques as well as the effective and responsible use of crop protection products.

Over the course of three years, the program aims to improve farmers' incomes, ensure food security, and preserve natural resources and the environment.

Additionally, it seeks to reduce water usage and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as adapt to climate change.

These efforts align with the MARD's vision to sustainably develop amillion hectares of high-quality rice for export and promote green growth in the Mekong Delta rice cultivation area.

Initial results from the first crop under the ForwardFarming project have been promising.

Farmers have successfully reduced the seed rate by 30% and minimized the use of herbicides and fertilizers, resulting in a reduced workload.

Moreover, they have achieved a 13% increase in farm yield and a 46% rise in the profit-to-income ratio compared to conventional practices.

"Collaboration is the key to driving the outcomes of sustainable healthcare and agriculture in Vietnam. We have established strong partnerships with key local stakeholders, including government agencies, NGOs, healthcare associations, and healthcare providers, to achieve our goals," Brandenburg said.

2024 marks the 30th anniversary of Bayer in Vietnam, which is stepping up its R&D activities to bring more innovative and effective solutions in healthcare and agriculture.

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