The 3 changes that can pave the way for regenerative agriculture

The 3 changes that can pave the way for regenerative agriculture

  • Intensified farming practices to feed a growing population are having severe impacts on the environment.
  • Regenerative agriculture can ease the impact on the planet, and if adopted correctly, could potentially increase yields as one of its many benefits.
  • To implement scalable and efficient regenerative farming practices, systemic transition is needed with three key changes: cross-value collaboration, de-risking transition for the farmer and placing a value on ecosystem services.

For years, industrialized agriculture has been focusing on intensifying farming practices, enhancing efficiency and boosting yields to meet the needs of a growing world population. However, this system has come with huge costs: our current food systems are responsible for one-third of total greenhouse gas emissions and have led to soil degradation and loss of biodiversity. Over half of the world’s agricultural land is degraded, resulting in productivity losses worth a staggering $400 billion per year.

By 2050, we will need to feed 10 billion people worldwide, bring our food systems within the planetary boundaries and keep the agricultural model financially viable for farmers. Improving farm resilience is critical for farm profitability, food security and to restore the environment and our ecosystems to help mitigate climate change. But it requires a systemic approach.

Change is possible. Through regenerative farming practices, such as cover cropping with low or no-till, rotational grazing and precision application, the prediction is we can still revert to resilient farming systems that work with nature rather than against it. Furthermore, regenerative farms have been shown to have more reliable and increased yields, higher-margin crops and reduced input costs, translating into a 15-25% return on investment in the long term when transitioning to regenerative farming practices.

A growing group of European farmers already deliver ecosystem services through regenerative farming practices but much more needs to be done to broadly replicate these cases and bring regenerative agriculture to scale. Three key elements are required:

Cross-value chain collaboration to make a match between supply and demand. De-risking the transition for the farmer to make it attractive and achievable. Valuing ecosystem services preferably integral in the pricing by value or other innovative business models.

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