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Bayer, Philippine Science HS in rice, corn breeding tieup

BAYER AG’s Philippines unit said it has launched a program to train students from the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) in hands-on farming, plant breeding, and crop protection.

“They are expected to gain exposure to the end-to-end breeding process of rice and corn in an industry setting. This includes development of breeding populations, molecular breeding, testing and evaluation of lines and hybrids from early pipeline to pre-commercial stage, as well as exposure to digitalization, mechanization, and automation of breeding operations,” Bayer said in a statement on Monday.

The company signed a memorandum of agreement with PSHS to send selected students to Bayer’s Agronomic Testing Center Southeast Asia in Laguna.

It is also setting up a science immersion program at its plant breeding station in General Santos City.

“As a partner of the PSHS we hope to help inspire our young scientists to take a deeper interest in agriculture, and to support science education through hands-on activities in our research sites in Laguna and General Santos City,” Bayer Philippines Managing Director Angel-Michael Evangelista said in a statement.

In General Santos City, students will learn about plant breeding. In Laguna, they will be taught agriculture entrepreneurship.

The curriculum includes seedling production, land preparation, crop maintenance, and safe use of crop protection products.

“As agribusinesses require technical know-how, they will gain basic understanding of agriculture and crop protection research and gain hands-on experience in conducting laboratory and field bio-efficacy trials from insect rearing, field assessments and analysis,” Bayer added.

The students will also participate in actual inoculum propagation, inoculation, rice emasculation and hand pollination.

Bayer scientists from India and the Philippines earlier conducted plant breeding and biotechnology training across all PSHS campuses, the company said. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson