by Max Behringer and Steffen Dehn
The goal of the event was it to provide successful examples of mobilizing the private sector for sustainable agriculture, forestry and other land use sector. But in fact, the focus was mainly on agriculture. Nevertheless, it gave us some interesting inputs.
It was held in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) which provides a platform for international companies (like Tata, Coca Cola, Yara, Unilever, PWC, Monsanto, General Motors etc.) dealing with business and sustainable development.
The general goal set for agriculture is it to improve food availability by 50%. A big part of this is the reduction of food losses. In addition to that the emissions should be reduced by 50%.
Theo de Jager (WFO = World Farmers´ Organization) pointed out the role of the private sector and of business solutions for agriculture and climate change. A key factor which according to him everyone needs to understand is “Market is king and farmers will do what is profitable”. The main issue that hinders Climate-Smart Agriculture is poverty. The order of demands is first price followed by quality, nutrition and ultimately environmental impact. Therefore, the most important thing is creating wealth and a sustainable demand by consumers.
In the session, we had two examples of private sector engagement for mitigation. The first one was about Asia, where food security is strongly linked to cultivation of rice.
In most Asian regions rice is grown on fields that are continuously flooded. This leads to the fact, that emissions from rice fields contribute a massive amount to the annual emission budget of countries. But this also showcases the massive potential there is for reducing emissions in agriculture especially in rice. Many NDCs aim for mitigation and adaptation efforts in the agricultural sector. Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is one way to adapt the agricultural landscape to accommodate an increasing demand for food while meeting emission reduction targets.
The second example was given by Bernhard Stormyr representing Yara. Tanzania´s population is today around 45 Million people and until 2050 it will rise to 140 Million people. So, the demand for the basic corn will increase drastically. To supply Tanzania with corn there are two options:
- a) Increase corn fields by 9 Mio ha
- b) Improve efficiency of land use from 1 – 1.5 t/ha yield per year to 5.5 – 6 t/ha/year
Improving efficiency would be more climate efficient than expanding corn fields. The expansion would be 5 times more carbon intensive than becoming more efficient. To gain more yields Yara suggests moving away from traditional land-use. With better seeds, fertilizer and pesticides the yield can be pushed up to 5.5 – 6 t/ha/year. While implementing the new land-use model the partnership with the global food program will ensure that the risk of a price collapse due to the productivity increase is avoided.
In the discussion which followed the TEM questions about the impact of the land-use changes on biodiversity as well as on local communities was raised. Moreover, nitrous oxide emissions caused by fertilizers need to be taken in account and a sustainable use of chemicals must be ensured to avoid eutrophication and a decline in water quality.
Source of pictures: http://enb.iisd.org/climate/sb46/enb/11may.html