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 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, as well as the carbon benefit potential from these practices.
Available Data: Soil 2022
Available Data: Biodiversity 2022
In 2022, 111 soil health projects in 19 countries benefited a total of 4.7 million hectares of farmland – a 7% decrease compared to 2021 due to a decrease in hectares reported by Europe, Africa and Middle East. Latin America accounted for about 53% of the total hectares that benefited from by soil conservation measures.
In 2022, 70 projects in 32 countries benefited 1.3 million hectares of farmland. The Europe, Africa and Middle East and North America regions accounted for 95% of the total hectares benefited by biodiversity enhancement measures. About 90% of the global hectares of benefited farmland were linked to the establishment of multifunctional field margins through our Operation Pollinator program, Sustainable Solutions projects and other initiatives.
In 2022, the carbon benefit potential on farmland was 2,931k tonnes CO2e, which is slightly lower (-3.5%) than last year. Over 60% of this benefit potential comes from agronomic practices such as crop rotation and soil cover supporting increased soil carbon storage.