Bayer Crop Science:On the path towards sustainable agriculture in Latin America
Apr. 16, 2018
World agriculture is experiencing a turning point in which it faces ever greater challenges. The United Nations’ projection for world population growth - which is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030 -, climate change, and limited resources and fertile land for cultivation have driven a true transformation in agricultural production. We are witnessing major mobilization throughout the agribusiness chain to overcome these challenges; however, in practice, how will it be possible to ensure food in sufficient amounts and adequate quality in the face of this reality?
From what I see in Latin America, I believe that the path towards this response is propped on two key pillars: Innovation and sustainability. If we think about the first one, we can say that, little by little, farmers are breaking away from old production method and technique paradigms to give way to new technologies that emerge as true allies of the field.
Innovation is increasingly present in crops and contributes especially to increasing productivity levels. Tools such as precision farming, for example, have made it possible to automate work on rural property, from planting and harvesting to pesticide application. The result is clear: Less waste and more efficiency. In addition, I see new solutions capable of collecting information from the field to feed a database that will help farmers analyze their land. This comprehensive view in the form of images, data, and figures facilitates decision making and the investments to be made.
Insofar as the sustainability pillar is concerned, the commitment of the region's producers to natural resource conservation is a reality. With an eye on the planet they want to leave for future generations, they have put into practice initiatives such as, in Brazil, the best agricultural practices focused on water conservation by means of programs aimed at reforestation, erosion control, and soil fertility. In several countries, such as Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, there are several industry actions aimed at making society and farmers aware of the responsible use of crop protection products.
With leading countries in international food production, Latin America is advancing through these examples on the pillars of innovation and sustainability. A new model of success for the region is Bayer ForwardFarming, a knowledge platform for farmers that is focused on customized agronomic solutions, sustainable food production, and collaborations. The intention is to work with farms around the world to serve as market benchmarks, as well as to encourage other farmers to adopt sustainable initiatives on their properties. The initiative is already a reality in many European countries, and now also in Latin America. In 2017, three farms were launched in the region: AgrícolaTesta, in Argentina, Fazenda Nossa Senhora Aparecida, in Brazil, and Hornilla Fundo Santa Inés, in Chile.
Although they work with different crops and face challenges that are particular to each of their locations, these farms have something in common: They are examples of the fact that blending innovation and sustainability is a possible path for agriculture in the future. To learn more about the initiative, go to: https://www.cropscience.bayer.com/en/crop-science/forwardfarming