World Soil Day is just one more occasion to remember the elementary truth that without soil health there can be no sustainable future
“The truly sustainable future of agriculture, I call it regenerative agriculture, is taking shape. It is a future driven by improving soil and agricultural health through digital technologies, and we are already seeing the benefits these precision tools will offer in the coming years. ” These are the words of the CEO of Syngenta, Erik Fyrwald, who the company has relaunched on the occasion of World Soil Day 2021 which will be celebrated on December 5th.
Syngenta, one of the world’s leading companies in agribusiness, has been at the forefront for years alongside large and small farmers, to support them in meeting the growing demand for healthy and safe food and, at the same time, in taking care of the health of the soil and in contrasting the loss of arable land due to salinization, water and wind erosion or anthropogenic pressure, through the promotion of a model of regenerative agriculture.
On the other hand, the soil represents a fundamental resource for agriculture and too often climate change and human activities put it at risk. Suffice it to say that, according to the ISPRA 2020 report, in Italy in 2019 57 million m2 of soil were lost due to new concreting, at a rate of 2 m2 per second. It is also estimated that in the last seven years, land consumption has resulted in a total loss of agricultural production for our country of 3,700,000 quintals for an economic damage of 7 billion euros.
But the problem is not only the consumption of the land, but its quality: according to the Ispra report, in fact, the degradation of the territory has increased from 2012 to today, also due to other changes in land use, loss of productivity and organic carbon, erosion, fragmentation and deterioration of habitats, with the consequent loss of ecosystem services.
Solutions to these issues were widely debated by Petra Laux, Head of Cp Business Sustainability, during the ‘Politico Summit’ from 30 November to 1 December in which she participated as a speaker. The global head of CP Business Sustainability shared the company’s vision on shaping the future of agriculture, delving into topics such as the effects of climate change on farmers, the vital role of Syngenta and the entire sector in supporting the transition to an ecosystem more sustainable agriculture and regenerative agriculture as a solution thanks to the positive impact and improvements it brings to the agricultural sector.
“Syngenta is very active in supporting farmers in the transition towards a more sustainable model of agriculture from an economic and environmental point of view through technology”, underlined Petra Laux during her speech. “At the heart of this transition is regenerative agriculture, an approach to providing the right balance between the need to provide enough food and the need to care for the environment. It is not a specific technology or methodology but rather a number of agricultural practices that help us achieve the results we want. These results include the efficient use of the land, to protect the uncultivated territories but also the soil where we grow our crops for future generations ”.
“There are specific incentives or policies that can accelerate the transition to this new agricultural model.” Petra Laux continues. “For example, there is a need for a tailor-made regulatory framework for biologicals, if we want more innovation for new biologicals solutions in the field of crop protection, or to ensure satisfactory internet coverage in rural areas in order to be able to widely use the digital tools that we have available, or facilitate the selection of plants through access to the most modern breeding technologies. We need to “listen to the science” as we work to safeguard our food system ”.
However, the commitment and importance that the soil holds for Syngenta has much deeper roots. Through the twenty years of experience gained with projects such as Operation Pollinator and Race To Zero, in fact, the concreteness of the commitment also wants to be witnessed by the recovery of 14 million hectares of agricultural land at risk of degradation and by the increase in biodiversity in over 8 million of hectares of arable land that the company reached in its sustainable development plan between 2014 and 2019.
World Soil Day therefore represents just one more occasion for Syngenta to remember the elementary truth that without soil health there can be no sustainable future and to reiterate that as regenerative agriculture becomes the norm, farmers will have access to more robust and scientific analysis and advice than ever before and consumers will have more information and more choice when it comes to selecting healthy and sustainable food for their families.