Promoting green sectors, sustainable development and eradicate poverty
The Green Economy concept has recently emerged and gained importance in several intergovernmental forums such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Green Economy Initiative
*, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Green Growth Strategy
. It has also been declared a priority theme for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 (
). These forums have recently highlighted the importance of the agricultural sector in this new vision for economic development.
The Fertilizer Industry supports Green Agriculture for a Green Economy
As the OECD’s green growth strategy states, the challenge for the agri-food sector will be “ensuring that in the coming decades enough food is provided for an increasing global population while reducing the carbon intensity and sustainably managing scarce natural resources - especially land, water and biodiversity - and reducing adverse environmental impacts.”
The fertilizer industry believes there are three important aspects of green growth for the industry and for the overall agricultural sector. All stakeholders should prioritize investments in these aspects:
• The dissemination of practices for sustainable intensification and R&D
Sustainable intensification aims at improving agricultural practices by increasing positive externalities and reducing negative ones. These best practices allow the increasing of productivity while causing the least environmental impacts and need to be disseminated more widely.
Research and development providing innovative tools and sustainable solutions are required in order for farmers to reach sustainable intensification.
Sustainable solutions that have proven their effectiveness include extreme weather resistance, nutrient use efficiency, emissions reduction, conservation agriculture, precision farming, integrated crop management and fertilizer best management practices.
To achieve greener production and consumption, the fertilizer industry reduces greenhouse gas
during production through engineering control technologies and reduces nutrient losses to the environment through several technologies and practices such as the
4R nutrient stewardship programme
(the right nutrient source at the right rate, right time and right place).
• Support for farmers in adopting green agriculture
As farmers are the main custodians of the planet’s land and freshwater resources, it is crucial to improve knowledge transfer of best management practices. Agriculture being a knowledge-intensive sector, farmers need access to training, extension services, and reliable local networks of professional agro-dealers in order to implement sustainable farming solutions.
The International Fertilizer Industry Association has established a
Fertilizer Best Management Practices
Task Force to address this issue and has recently developed, among others, “
The Nutrient Manager
” tool which allows farmers to receive site-specific recommendations concerning nutrient inputs for their rice crops through mobile and web applications. This tool is being tailored to a progressive number of countries and
• The design of coherent agricultural policies that support green growth
Agriculture is a complex sector interacting with environmental, economic and social dimensions. Therefore, green growth policies and strategies need to be cross-cutting and designed using a life-cycle approach, taking into consideration possible short-term and long-term improvements.
The Fertilizer Industry works with all partners involved in the agricultural supply chain and advocates for the design and implementation of green growth policies supporting farmers as key actors of sustainable development.
IFA recommends policymakers to:
→ Make agriculture more attractive to youth and train the next generation of agronomists;
→ Invest in research and technology development and uptake;
→ Support the establishment of public-private partnerships;
→ Support farmers by providing them with education, training and extension services to ensure that new solutions are adopted;
→ Improve the integration of value chains;
→ Provide incentives to farmers to adopt best practices, such as rewarding them for ecosystem services, and help them manage risks with access to finance and insurance;
→ Promote policy coherence at the national, regional and international levels between aid, trade and economic policies.