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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.
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 2017
Available Data: Biodiversity 2017
In 2017, our soil programs benefited an additional 3.1 million hectares of land – bringing the cumulative total to 7.5 million hectares and keeping us on track towards our 2020 target of 10 million. On biodiversity, we have now implemented 229 projects in 37 countries, benefiting a total of 5.6 million hectares (cumulative).