Farmers are increasingly faced with the need to produce more nutritious food from fewer resources, and under less predictable growing conditions. They must also do this while mitigating against and managing the effects of climate change, from flooding to drought, to pests and diseases spreading into new geographic areas.
Agriculture is part of the solution
Agriculture today is responsible for 11% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, but through plant science innovation farmers can produce more nutritious food while significantly reducing carbon emissions, decreasing the use of fresh water, and preserving natural habitats and local biodiversity.
Plant science innovations are essential to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals and enable sustainable food systems
Plant science innovations such as crop protection, plant breeding technologies, and digital agriculture are needed to help farmers adapt to climate change, mitigate its impact, and enable greater carbon sequestration. Expanded use of these innovations provides farmers with more and often better solutions to reduce farm level carbon emissions, optimize water and other input use. They also preserve natural habitats and biodiversity in line with the global priorities established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), by providing innovative solutions targeted to their local conditions and needs.
However, there is no single solution to climate change
The global variety of crops, soils, farming methods, climate conditions, pests, diseases and other factors means no single technology or set of tools will systematically increase productivity, improve soil health, or achieve broader based climate resilience. However, without innovations such as crop protection products and plant biotechnology, global pre-harvest crop losses could double.
A collaborative and innovative systems-based approach is needed
Together with others, we aim to drive actionable progress around the goals of the UNFCCC and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a systems-based approach grounded in sound science and evidence. We also believe in fostering a culture of transparency and accountability, with respect and understanding for local needs and conditions, recognizing that all farmers should have equal access to beneficial agricultural innovations.
Innovation also extends beyond the boundaries of tools and technologies. It is also about social innovation and ideas generation, and how we approach collaboration. Cultivating sustainable change requires new approaches, new collaborations, and new partnerships. Realizing these ambitious goals ultimately requires broad partnerships and collaborations to ensure demand-driven plant science and agricultural innovation is at the center of an approach, that there are enabling policy environments that support equal access to innovation and that appropriate incentives are in place to help maximize the impacts of these innovations.
Soil Health and Carbon Sequestration
Adopting new innovations and best practices in agriculture can be natural climate solutions. Soil health is not only at the foundation of our food systems and critical for the achievement of the SDGs, but soils function as major carbon reservoirs and water regulators, which makes them one of the most valuable assets to address climate change.
There is much that the private sector can do to catalyze and support governments in delivering their nationally determined contributions that are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of countries’ long-term goals, including Article 6, the implementation of carbon markets.
The private sector has a key role to play in translating Article 6 collaboration frameworks into real action, by defining financial mechanisms and investment solutions that can support farmers in the adoption of better soil practices. Providing farmers with access to public and private sector incentives and accelerating private sector investments in this space would increase the uptake in these farming practices, reduce carbon emissions, and facilitate the development of carbon markets.
This is also why CropLife International is proud to be a facilitator and supporter of the Private Sector Call to Action, which includes agricultural input companies, food companies, financial institutions, and other organizations. The Coalition of Action 4 Soil Health (CA4SH) was built to establish a multi-stakeholder coalition to facilitate the implementation, adoption, and global coordination of soil restoration practices and the Private Sector Call to Action for Soil Health was developed to support the goals and objectives outlined by CA4SH and to recognize the need for private sector participation and engagement of farmers, acknowledge tangible outcome-related goals and solutions, highlight the work that is being accomplished through existing initiatives and alliances, and emphasize the need for science-based approaches and measurements.
Guided by our purpose to advance innovation in agriculture for a sustainable future, CropLife International is serving as an “Innovation Sprint Partner” for the Agricultural Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4C), a joint international initiative championed by the United States and the United Arab Emirates that aims to significantly increase and accelerate investment in sustainable agriculture and food systems innovation.
As an Innovation Sprint Partner CropLife International will work with AIM4C to make agriculture more climate friendly through our Sustainable Pesticide Management Framework (SPMF), a $13-million plan over the next five years to accelerate access and uptake of climate smart crop protection innovations for smallholder farmers.
The SPMF is a holistic, impact driven framework to reduce the risks of pesticides and address the management of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs), all within the overall approach for sustainable pesticide management. The project will protect human health and safeguard the environment while optimizing productivity for smallholder farmers, in line with AIM4C’s ambitions. Its implementation is also fully aligned with the International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management and FAO/WHO guidelines.
The program will accelerate access and uptake of climate-smart crop protection innovations through multi-stakeholder partnerships focused on nine different markets in Asia, Africa and Central America and will increase access to newer crop protection chemistries(including biological pesticides), train extension officers and farmers on the effective and safe use of crop protection products and the importance of Integrated Pest Management solutions, support policy and regulatory reform that enables access to these innovations. Implementation of the Framework is already underway in Kenya, and additional projects will be launched in Thailand, Morocco, and Vietnam in 2022.
CropLife member companies and the CropLife global network already support the training of approximately 10 million farmers annually. The SPMF will build and leverage these interactions to create an even broader impact.