Bayer, Solidaridad and Grupo Pantaleon sign collaboration agreement

Bayer, Solidaridad and Grupo Pantaleon seek to bring sustainability standards to the sugarcane industry in Mexico.

The partners announced the launch of the MAS-CAÑA programme’s second phase. This programme trains farmers, workers and technicians in good agricultural practices for sustainable sugarcane.

In addition, this programme will integrate satellite technology and drones, from which producers will be able to monitor the state of their plantations. Through these tools, smallholders will also be able to collect data in the field to review sustainability benefits such as increased effectiveness as well as reduction of labor and operating costs brought about by the use of Bayers’ products.

“Mexico is the seventh largest sugarcane producer in the world with 56.9 million tons in 836 thousand hectares, which represents 4.5% of the national GDP, almost half a million direct and more than two million indirect jobs. For this reason, and as part of the commitment we have with them, at Bayer we constantly work to understand and effectively meet smallholder needs, and we search for better ways to share knowledge, technology and innovative tools with them that allow better access to agricultural practices that translate into higher productivity and profits”, said Manuel Bravo, President and CEO of Bayer in Mexico.

During the first phase of the MAS-CAÑA programme, carried out in San Luis Potosí, and after an in-depth survey of the producers’ needs, partners provided technical and sustainability practices training, touching on topics such as soil preparation, planting and fertilization; as well as occupational safety. The results were extremely encouraging: we reached more than a thousand trained workers, achieving average increases of 20% in productivity, despite draughts and other adverse conditions in recent years.

MAS-CAÑA will scale first at the Pánuco sugar mill in Veracruz, and it is expected that, at the end of the three-year duration of the program, the 3,500 trained producers will obtain an increase between 10 and 20% in productivity in their crops.

Michaelyn Baur, Managing Director for Solidaridad Central America, Mexico and The Caribbean, explained that MAS-CAÑA and Solidaridad’s priority is to support smallholders, strengthening their capacity for a more strategic and sustainable use of resources while increasing their productivity. In addition, she stressed that this model will transform the industry in Mexico and will make possible the transfer of knowledge, tools and innovation in different regions, countries and supply chains.

The Mexican sugar value chain has had historically low productivity levels caused by drought and poor weed management, derived from the search for low-cost solutions without measuring efficiency or effectiveness. Sugarcane producers also lack prior knowledge in using seedbeds. These are areas of opportunity that have captured the interest of all three partners in promoting sustainable practices that will result in better crops and a higher level of adaptation for smallholder producers.

Grupo Pantaleon Director Juan Carlos Espel said MAS-CAÑA will seek to develop better working conditions for all actors representing the sector and therefore improve company operations. The final objective will be to replicate the scheme in other areas of Mexico.

With this new partnership agreement, Bayer, Solidaridad and Pantaleon are reaffirming their commitment to Mexican sugarcane farmers and supporting a solid work model that will bring economic, social and environmental benefits to all. Expanding MAS-CAÑA into this new phase is the result of a collaborative multi-stakeholder effort and the beginning of an important continuous improvement cycle.