Agriculture is a solution to climate change
Farmers increasingly face the need to produce more nutritious food from fewer resources, and under less predictable growing conditions. Agricultural innovation and plant science technologies deliver climate solutions while improving productivity and food security.
CropLife International, the global federation representing the plant science industry, focuses on advancing knowledge and awareness of agricultural innovation and its increasingly important role in improving agricultural productivity to contribute to all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that directly depend on agriculture.
Food is more than a commodity. It is a human right with economic, social, and environmental impacts. Farmers need access to more tools to support a robust and flexible response to a changing climate that affects both their own farms and the broader landscape.
The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (COP27) will put forth urgent actions needed to address the climate crisis over two weeks of negotiations and dialogues. The Egyptian Presidency structured the COP27 action agenda to focus on implementation of solutions. In much the same way, CropLife International prioritizes climate-smart interventions and solutions in all of our engagements. We view COP27 as an opportunity to accelerate transitions to sustainable food systems by:
- Demonstrating how plant science and digital solutions contribute to climate change adaptation AND deliver increased food security.
- Accelerating adaptation and mitigation to climate change by working with others via multi-stakeholder platforms.
- Elevating the importance of soil health to achieving the SDGs and to adapting and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Visit the COP27 website for more information on the schedule of events and participants.
Plant science technologies deliver climate solutions and promote nature positive production while improving productivity and food security
Plant science technologies such as crop protection products, digital and precision agriculture, and plant biotechnology help farmers and our food systems adapt to and mitigate climate change while improving agricultural productivity and delivering food security.
Our members oversee world-leading research and development portfolios centered on technologies that support climate-smart sustainable agriculture including specific commitments to increase R&D investment toward climate-smart innovations, reducing emissions per unit crop yield, and reducing their carbon footprints.
For example, the adoption of modern plant science technologies has generated climate benefits through improved productivity, which has slowed the rate of land-use conversion for agricultural purposes.
The advance of precision agriculture has enabled more targeted and precise applications of crop protection products, reducing greenhouse gases from associated machinery and other factors while boosting soil biodiversity.
Many new and future plant science technologies offer significant potential for solving the climate problem without sacrificing agricultural productivity. One such innovation is gene editing, an additive technology on top of existing breeding methods that can further climate positive impacts.
Collaborating to enable an environment that empowers agricultural innovation and access to plant science technologies
To make a difference, innovations in agricultural technologies and practices must reach the field. We work globally with our members to promote better regulatory and trade policies that nurture responsible innovation, provide equal access to plant science technologies and agricultural innovations, and ensure their responsible and effective use.
Complex regulatory processes slow down access to new agricultural innovations and delay these products getting to market and into the hands of farmers. A recent report demonstrated that the time to take a new plant biotech trait to market is 16.5 years, almost 3.5 years longer than it was 10 years ago. This means that the benefits from these innovations are also being delayed or that they remain inaccessible to farmers in some regions.
Now more than ever, we need a more harmonized regulatory framework around the world to improve access to plant science technologies and promote innovation that ultimately helps farmers, consumers, and the environment.
Promoting soil health and maximizing carbon sequestration
To make progress on some of the world’s most pressing challenges such as food security, climate change and biodiversity, we must look at soil as a vital asset. Healthy soil strengthens the nutritional value of our food, stores billions of tons of CO2 equivalent each year, and functions as major carbon reservoirs and water regulators.
The private sector has an important role to play in 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.
CropLife International is a proud supporter of the Coalition of Action 4 Soil Health, which is working with member states, research, civil society, farmers, NGOs, and the private sector to facilitate scaling and adoption of soil health improvement practices globally.
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.
Agricultural Innovation Mission for Climate
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 is working with AIM4C to make agriculture more climate friendly through our Sustainable Pesticide Management Framework (SPMF), a long-term plan to protect human health, safeguard the environment, and optimize crop production through improved pesticide management, in line with AIM4C’s ambitions.
At its core, SPMF is built on three key pillars: reducing reliance on HHPs through demonstrated change; ensuring innovation is available to farmers; and ensuring responsible and effective use of pesticides. This science-based, evidence-led approach further strengthens CropLife International’s support for the International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management, which we have supported and contributed for more than 30 years, and will expand delivery of the vision outlined in the code through partnerships with governments, extension providers, and other stakeholders.
SPMF will bring an additional focus to incident reporting, including support for more and better poison centers across target regions. Already underway in Kenya, SPMF activities will soon launch in Morocco, Thailand, and Vietnam.