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EU Prioritises Regenerative Agriculture for a Sustainable Future

In a significant shift towards sustainable farming, the European Union, under its Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies, is increasingly focusing on regenerative agriculture.

This move comes amidst alarming findings from a Science Advances study indicating that humanity has surpassed six of the nine critical planetary boundaries, with 2023 poised to become the hottest year on record.

Regenerative agriculture emerges as a comprehensive solution to the pressing issues of climate change, biodiversity loss, and water scarcity. This approach is not only about enhancing soil health and water quality but also about promoting biodiversity, sequestering carbon, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving farmers' livelihoods.

McCain Foods has been at the forefront of applying regenerative practices in potato farming. Their experiments have yielded promising results, demonstrating significant improvements in soil health and crop yields.

These findings are crucial as the European Commission reports that 60-70% of European soils are considered degraded.

The economic implications are equally noteworthy. The Food and Land Use Coalition estimates that a shift to regenerative agriculture could contribute $1.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Trials in France, involving different potato varieties and no-deep soil tillage methods, have shown an 11% increase in yield and larger potatoes.

However, the expansion of regenerative agriculture requires a holistic strategy and a robust regulatory framework. This includes clear definitions, measurable benchmarks, and alignment with EU standards such as the Soil Monitoring Law and Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions. The EU framework should encourage adoption by focusing on outcomes rather than prescribing specific practices.

Financial support is also crucial. The EU and member states are urged to provide direct and indirect financial incentives to promote regenerative practices. Innovative financial tools, like those offered by Rabobank in the Netherlands and Crédit Agricole in France, are also vital for supporting farmers during this transition.

Knowledge and skills development is another barrier that needs addressing. Broad-based technical training for farmers, agricultural professionals, and local officials is essential for the effective implementation of regenerative agriculture practices.

In conclusion, the potential of regenerative agriculture in addressing global challenges is immense. However, its success hinges on collaborative efforts between farmers, policymakers, businesses, academics, and financial institutions.


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