twitter RSS Feed linkedin acp contact

Soil is the most potent carbon capture solution: EASAC

EASAC soilA new report released by Europe’s National Academies of Sciences provides evidence that a transformation to regenerative agriculture holds promising keys to reducing climate risks while providing the growing world population with food and enhancing biodiversity


The report states agriculture is the main driver of global deforestation and land conversion, and food systems account for more than a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it a major contributor to climate change.

“Transforming agriculture is the planet’s greatest untapped treasure for coping with the climate crisis. Today’s large-scale conventional agriculture has a huge negative impact on soil. Soil erosion, the loss of flora and fauna and thereby nutrients in soils, has become a major factor in Europe,” explains Thomas Elmqvist, professor and one of the lead authors of EASAC’s first-time scientific analysis of the potential of regenerative agriculture. The report shows that restoring biodiversity in soils, particularly in grasslands can dramatically increase their capacity to capture and store carbon.

While being responsible for a third of global carbon emissions, agriculture is extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as shifts in temperature and rainfall. The study further makes a claim that a growing number of farmers, particularly the smallholders that produce about a third of the world’s food, are struggling with harvest and livestock losses while trying to adapt to the increasingly irregular weather conditions caused by a changing climate. 

“We are literally sawing the branch that we are sitting on,” says Orsolya Valkó of Hungary’s Institute of Ecology and Botany.

No contradiction between modern plant and animal breeding technologies

EASAC’s results demonstrate that many of the analysed practices show synergies between carbon capture and storage and enhancing biodiversity, while not having largely negative effects on food production in the long term. The scientists underline that regenerative agriculture does not contradict the use of modern plant and animal breeding technology, tilling, use of mineral fertiliser or pesticides. Instead, it aims for a limited, more targeted use. 

The use of chemical pesticides, for example, can be reduced by using biological alternatives, employing gene-edited crops that are pathogen-resistant, or even introducing predators.

Potent carbon capture storage

Regenerative agriculture can take large amounts of CO2 out of the atmosphere and tie it back into the soil. “We are literally standing on the largest and most potent carbon capture storage of the planet,” Orsolya Valkó opines. “Many field tests show how high the soil’s storage performance is. If we want not only to preserve biodiversity but also expand food production and at the same time fight climate change, there is no alternative to regenerative agriculture!”

Insufficient implementation of strategies

EASAC recommends that regenerative agriculture should be prioritised by the member states when implementing the new ‘Common Agricultural Policy’. This includes more diversification within and among crops, the introduction of permanent and perennial crops, expanded agroforestry and intercropping, keeping green plant cover on all farm fields during all seasons, and reduced tillage.

The report welcomes the European Union’s Biodiversity and farm-to-fork strategies as steps in the right direction but underlines that governments have done little so far to implement them. “We need sharp policies and sharp economic instruments,” says Elmqvist. “Targeting the farm-scale is insufficient. Financial schemes should also benefit communities and associations of farmers managing landscapes in a coordinated way.”

 


LATEST NEWS IN Agriculture

African Development Fund approves US$6.4mn grant to increase financial access for agricultural value chain entrepreneurs

African Development Fund approves US$6.4…

The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund, the African Development Bank Group’s (AfDB’s) concessional lending window, has approved a grant US$6.4mn to Gambia to implement the Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing...

Esri partners with Microsoft to support sustainable agriculture development in Africa

Esri partners with Microsoft to support …

To help support government and non-profit organisations on the continent address climate change, water supply and food security challenges, Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, has collaborated with Microsoft...

USAID and NASA renew partnership to address development and humanitarian challenges

USAID and NASA renew partnership to addr…

On 4 November, Administrator Samantha Power signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to renew...

Norway promises top-up contribution of urgently needed climate finance

Norway promises top-up contribution of u…

On 9 November 2022, Norway, as part of a commitment to triple its support to climate adaptation by 2026, has pledged an additional US$9.5mn contribution of urgently needed climate finance...

CotonChad and IDH sign partnership with Better Cotton

CotonChad and IDH sign partnership with …

Better Cotton recently signed a multi-stakeholder Letter of Intent to participate in the landscape approach, developed with local stakeholders in Chad in conjunction with IDH, intending to work towards improving...

NFU president Minette Batters appointed as ambassador of Farm Africa

NFU president Minette Batters appointed …

Farm Africa, a charity that promotes sustainable agricultural practices, strengthens markets and protects the environment in rural eastern Africa, has announced the appointment of NFU president Minette Batters as an...

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Agriculture

Inmarsat launches Application and Solution Provider (ASP) programme

Inmarsat launches Application and Soluti…

Inmarsat, a specialist in global, mobile satellite communications, has launched its Application and Solution Provider (ASP) Programme, an ecosystem for providers of software, hardware and solutions

Tanzanian initiative boosts tractor sales for Indian manufacturer

Tanzanian initiative boosts tractor sale…

India-based Escorts Group have sold more than 800 tractors in less than three years following the roll out of the Kilimo Kwanza initiative in Tanzania

Future Food Institute and FAO to tackle food and climate crisis

Future Food Institute and FAO to tackle …

Future Food Institute and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have launched a partnership to promote food innovation in the agribusiness sector

Bell aircrafts help safeguard food and agriculture amid historic locust infestation

Bell aircrafts help safeguard food and a…

Over the last 12 months, food security has been under serious threat from devastating locust swarms, destroying crops from East Africa to the Arabian Gulf

Ecobank management, staff to plant trees as part of World Environment Day

Ecobank management, staff to plant trees…

Africa's Ecobank said in a statement that its management and staff would plant trees in 33 countries, across the bank's footprint in Africa as a part of the World Environment...

‘Free trade can prevent hunger caused by future shifts in climate patterns’

‘Free trade can prevent hunger caused by…

International trade can compensate for regional reductions in agricultural production and reduce hunger when protectionist measures and other barriers to trade are eliminated, according to a study published in Nature...

South Africa cuts maize production estimate for 2012

South Africa cuts maize production estim…

South Africa has reduced its annual estimate for maize production by 0.6 per cent as dry weather affected the output

New seed varieties help cocoa farmers thrive in Cameroon

New seed varieties help cocoa farmers th…

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has committed to provide funding to Institute of Agriculture Research for Development (IRAD), where research is focused on creating adapted seed varieties

Expanding women’s access to opportunities can help Tanzania: World Bank report

Expanding women’s access to opportunitie…

Tanzania stands to benefit enormously from expanding women’s economic opportunities, especially in terms of access to land and productive assets, according to the World Bank economic analysis for the country

Africa’s GGW programme gives viable return on investments

Africa’s GGW programme gives viable retu…

Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) found that Africa’s Great Green Wall (GGW) programme in the Sahel region is crucial to the battle against climate change

New Holland's distributor in Zambia named ‘Best Agriculture Exhibit’

New Holland's distributor in Zambia name…

Dana Holdings has received the prize for ‘Best Agriculture Exhibit’ at the 2014 Agricultural and Commercial Show which was held in Lusaka, Zambia from 30 July to 4 August

New mobile service could enhance rural farming operations

New mobile service could enhance rural f…

A new information platform for farmers could help increase food productivity and improve sales in the agricultural sector across parts of Africa

Prev Next