Bayer Crop Science expands ‘Programa Siembra’ farming education program
After concluding two projects with the Southern Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce last week, Bayer Crop Science announced it is taking its “Programa Siembra” agricultural education program for adults to communities in Ponce and Mayagüez this summer.
Starting this week, “Programa Siembra” is offering two new projects in Ponce. One is for teens and young adults, launched in partnership with PathStone Corporation Puerto Rico, while the other one is for adults through Sor Isolina Ferré Centers Faro de Esperanza Program.
The program will launch two other projects in August along with the Puerto Rico Office for Socioeconomic and Community Development. One project will take place in Mayagüez and the other in Ponce.
“Seeing the positive impact that our first project had with our veteran participants, we started identifying other groups and communities that would benefit from our program,” said Emmanuel Feliciano, PC Agronomy Manager at Bayer Crop Science and “Programa Siembra” coordinator.
“Giving people the skills to grow their own food is empowering them to create better food security for themselves and their communities. We’re very proud to be a part of this effort,” he said.
The program’s main goal is to teach participants basic agriculture principles with an entrepreneurial twist so they can produce part of the food they consume at home, create their own business, or establish community agricultural programs.
Earlier this year, Bayer Crop Science completed “Programa Siembra’s” pilot project, in partnership with St. Louis-based nonprofit organization The Mission Continues. About 39 veterans from the municipalities of Villalba, Guayanilla, Ponce, Lares, Sabana Grande, Yauco, Coamo, San Germán, Salinas, and Orocovis participated in that first edition.
They took six online sessions to learn about sowing, transplanting, irrigation, fertilization, and integrated pest management techniques, both for soil and container gardening. The participants also received a planting kit to practice what they learned in the workshops, which included germination trays, substrate, pots, fertilizer, irrigation hoses, and pest control traps.
Bayer Crop Science will continue its outreach efforts to offer the “Programa Siembra” projects in other communities throughout the island, Feliciano said.