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Unilever Debuts UK Regenerative Farming Initiative for Mustard and Mint

Unilever has initiated its inaugural regenerative agriculture scheme in the UK, focusing on enhancing biodiversity, utilising low-carbon fertilisers, and incorporating cover and companion crops, all while aiming to elevate yields for mustard seed and mint leaf cultivators.

This pioneering programme is set to offer its expertise to mustard and mint farms situated around Norwich and Peterborough, with the programme's first crops scheduled for planting next month. These crops will be incorporated into Colman’s products.

In collaboration with the English Mustard Growers, Norfolk Mint Growers, Farmacy, and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), Unilever aims to devise and execute new methodologies that will diminish emissions and water usage, augment crop yields, and bolster resilience against climate-induced challenges.

The strategy includes experimenting with low-carbon fertilisers, crop nutrition tactics, diversifying crop types, introducing new digital water irrigation scheduling systems, and minimising cultivation efforts.

Andre Burger, Unilever’s head of nutrition, emphasised the critical importance of healthy soil for all food-related enterprises, especially in the face of ongoing climate crises affecting the natural environment. He highlighted the necessity not only to safeguard but also to rejuvenate the soil and farmland utilised for growing the crops and ingredients that are fundamental to our daily consumption.

He pointed out that Colman’s, being a quintessential British condiment, is at the heart of this regenerative agriculture project, which aims to secure the sustainable supply and future of the exquisite ingredients and farms that contribute to the robust flavours of their products.

In 2021, Unilever unveiled its Regenerative Agriculture Principles, focusing on collaborating with farmers, suppliers, and partners to implement farming practices capable of regenerating and preserving soil, ensuring food security and supply chain resilience, and aiding Unilever’s journey towards achieving net-zero emissions.

Unilever has set an ambitious target to invest in regenerative agriculture practices across 1.5 million hectares of land and forests worldwide by 2030. The company plans to gather data on soil health, fertiliser usage and its impacts, biodiversity, water consumption, and carbon reduction efforts to explore new agricultural methods. Moreover, Unilever is dedicated to ensuring that these endeavours not only enhance yields but also increase profitability for farmers.

Last year, Unilever conducted four distinct projects across various companies to investigate and test practices centred on regenerative farming. These trials, involving different Unilever brands, took place in Argentina, Spain, Italy, and the US.

These projects were designed to address the specific challenges and needs of diverse crops and landscapes, providing a framework to assess the impact of these practices, which Unilever hopes to replicate in other locations.

According to the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), currently, only 15% of the world’s croplands by area are cultivated using regenerative practices, suggesting that a significant portion of the world’s agricultural land may become unsuitable for future use.


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