Farmers fear climate crisis will have greater impact on their business than...

Farmers fear climate crisis will have greater impact on their business than coronavirus

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Syngenta plans to invest $2bn in sustainable agriculture innovations

Syngenta plans to invest $2bn in sustainable agriculture innovations

To coincide with new sustainability strategy agri-business giant Syngenta releases poll showing growing concern worldwide about impact of climate change on crop yields and farmers

More than 70 per cent of large-scale farmers in the US, France, China, Brazil, India and across much of Africa harbour significant concerns about the impact of climate change on their crops and business over the next five years, the findings of a major new Ipsos Mori poll have shown.

A survey of 600 farmers carried out by the pollster on behalf of Swiss biotechnology giant Syngenta in February found 72 per cent were worried about the impact of climate change on their crop yields, animal health, and ability to do business.

And, several months later, Ipsos Mori carried out another poll of 200 large scale farmers in Europe, which found that while 46 per cent were concerned that dealing with Covid-19 would have substantial impacts on their business, 53 per cent still saw climate change as a more pressing priority.

Indeed, 63 per cent said climate change would have a greater impact on their business than coronavirus over the next five years, according to the poll.

The survey results were released yesterday by Syngenta to tie-in with the release of the agri-business giant’s updated sustainability strategy, the Good Growth Plan.

The new plan is aimed at driving forward the firm’s 2019 pledge to invest $2bn worldwide over the next five years to help farmers prepare for and tackle the increased threats posed by climate change, as well as its science-based emissions target (SBT) aligned with a 1.5C warming trajectory.

The firm, which has committed to reducing the carbon intensity of its operations by at least 50 per cent by 2030 from a 2016 baseline, said its updated sustainability strategy was designed to place the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss at the core of its Covid-19 recovery plans.

Alexandra Brand, chief sustainability officer at Syngenta Group, said the poll findings suggested Covid-19 restrictions on the economy could have long-lasting effects on the food and agriculture sector, which could hamper its ability to tackle climate change impacts and biodiversity loss.

“That’s why the significant levels of investment in innovation that you see in the new Good Growth Plan are needed to fight climate change and provide for a food system working in harmony with nature,” she said.

The updated plan sets out Syngenta’s ambition to deliver two technological breakthroughs to market each year to support greener farming through its $2bn investment plan, while also enhancing biodiversity and soil health on three million hectares of rural land each year.

Jennifer Morris, CEO at US green NGO The Nature Conservancy, welcomed Syngenta’s plan, highlighting the growing pressures on the food and agriculture industries in the face of the eroding productivity and resilience of farms, ranches, and fisheries worldwide.

“The impacts of COVID-19 make addressing these challenges even more urgent,” she said. “Reversing these troubling realities will require working across sectors for smart, scalable solutions that ensure a future where people and nature thrive.”

The survey came on the same day as new research suggested the likelihood of the UK experiencing temperatures in excess of 40C was increasing rapidly.

The Guardian reported on a new study that calculated that under a medium emissions scenario where the world curbs emissions but misses its 2C of warming temperature goal, temperatures in excess of 40C could become a once ecvery 15 year occurence. Under a high emissions scenario where emissions continue the trend seen in recent decades the UK could face temepratures in excess of 40C every three and a half years, with potentially disastrous impacts for agricultural productivity.



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