18 August 2022, Leverkusen: Bayer supports the humanitarian non-profit organization “Fondation suisse de déminage” (FSD) in their mission to demine land that was contaminated by mines and unexploded devices since the onset of the war in Ukraine. A donation of 825,000 euros will be dedicated to purchasing a large-size mechanical mine clearance machine. The machine is able to process large areas of land such as farmland.
The mine clearance machine is currently being maintained and prepared for its deployment in Ukraine, planned for this fall. It will support FSD’s demining operations funded by the United States Department of State. The specific areas of operation of the machine will be coordinated between FSD and Ukrainian authorities.
“As landmines and explosive devices pose a life threat to people in Ukraine, we are convinced that our donation to FSD is an important humanitarian contribution to the safety of the Ukrainian civil society. Further, by clearing farmland, it will allow farmers to grow food safely, gain an income and help to relieve the tense situation around global food security. Large parts of the global south depend on food exports from Ukraine”, says Bayer CEO Werner Baumann.
“This large demining machine will play a crucial role in accelerating the demining process in Ukraine”, says Hansjoerg Eberle, Director of FSD. “It will enable the rapid removal of vegetation cover to allow our detectors access to the surface. In addition, it will expedite the ‘technical survey’ of potentially contaminated land. This key phase of humanitarian demining aims at getting a clear picture of the contamination so as to allocate the clearance resources in the most efficient manner.”
Mine clearance is of vital importance for Ukraine. Since the beginning of the war, large areas of land have been contaminated fully or partially with landmines and unexploded or abandoned munitions, thereof large parts of agricultural land where farming is currently not possible. To help Ukrainian civilians, including farmers, stay safe and secure the upcoming harvest without risking their lives, clearing the ground of explosive ordnance is vital.
So far, only one large demining machine is used to support demining operations throughout the country. While this type of large machine is hardened against anti-vehicle mines and unexploded ordnance, it is not impervious to them; correct use of the machine by specifically trained operators is of paramount importance. Also, areas where the machine has worked will still be subject to follow-ups by manual deminers and to internal and external quality control measures.
The donation to FSD to purchase the mine clearance machine is one of many humanitarian actions which Bayer has initiated. Since the start of the war in February, the company donated a total of over 10 million euros so far. This includes establishing a disaster relief fund and product donations, including antibiotics and oncology therapeutics.
Further, Bayer is fully committed to Ukraine´s future through investing in the country and supporting President Zelensky’s rebuilding plan – called United24. The company aims to continue making significant investments in the country over the next decade – mainly to rebuild Ukraine´s agricultural system. As a start, to cover the corn seed demand in Ukraine and beyond, Bayer will invest more than 30 million Euros from 2022 onwards in the Pochuiky seed plant. This investment includes raising the capacity of seeds dryer, extra field equipment, additional storage facilities – and new employment opportunities in the region. Bayer will also support the rebuilding of Ukraine´s hospital and public health infrastructure.