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Poor farming practices expose soil to wind and rain erosion, leaving millions of hectares infertile. Every year, the world loses enough land to produce 20 million tons of grain. The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) estimates that over 50 percent of the land used for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation. We are raising awareness of this issue and promoting conservation agriculture practices based on minimum soil disturbance, crop rotation and permanent ground cover.
The sustainability of agriculture also relies on biodiversity – for plant breeding, pollination and food diversity. Our customers and our own seed production rely on this critical resource. Biodiversity suffers as species’ habitats are lost or fragmented, and in recent decades it has been declining at an unprecedented rate. We are promoting and enabling action to protect and enhance biodiversity – primarily by managing marginal and less productive farmland alongside fields and waterways to create rich, connected wildlife habitats.
Starting year 2020, we report on the estimated carbon benefit for farmland adopting our soil conservation and biodiversity enhancement projects.
The maps below show the number of hectares that benefited from the soil and biodiversity management practices promoted through our activities. Select individual practices to see where and how we are contributing to soil health or biodiversity conservation.
Available Data: Soil 2021
Available Data: Biodiversity 2021
In 2021, 81 soil health projects in 17 countries benefited a total of 6.03 million hectares of farmland – an increase of about 180% compared to 2020. Latin America accounted for about 46% of the total hectares benefited by soil conservation measures.
In 2021, 61 projects in 32 countries benefited 1.44 million hectares of farmland. Over 90% of the 1.44 million hectares of farmland benefited by biodiversity enhancement measures were linked to trainings, agronomic advice and farmers’ support to implement multifunctional field margins through our Operation Pollinator, Sustainable Solutions projects and other programs.
The carbon benefit potential on farmland was 3,038k tonnes CO2e in 2021. About half of this benefit potential comes from agronomic practices such as crop rotation and soil cover. These practices increase yield and generate higher inputs of carbon residue leading to increased soil carbon storage.