Climate and resilience: working for the future of agriculture

December 21, 2023

With the succession of "extreme" climate events - drought, floods, frosts and hail, to name but a few events - producers are having a hard time, with repercussions throughout the supply chain ultimately impacting the consumer. Loss of yield and quality, harvests that cannot be transported or exported, disruption of ecosystems, price rises, shortages of raw materials and labor, financial vulnerability... professionals are facing problems that can affect the continuity and sustainability of their business. On the one hand, they have to deal with the most urgent short-term issues, while on the other, they have to make decisive choices for tomorrow's agriculture. Working towards resilient agriculture is becoming increasingly important, enabling producers to continue to invest and innovate.

What is resilient agriculture?

The resilience of an agricultural system is defined as its capacity to re-establish its basic functioning in the face of economic, social and environmental shocks and stresses. A system's resilience can be specific, to respond to a one-off disturbance, or global, to cope with a disturbance against which the system must contend in the long term. - Source: CDA, center for the development of agroecology

The resilience of an agrosystem is therefore its capacity to adapt to disturbances or to return to a routine regime in the face of a changing environment, through its robustness (a crop can run out of water for a while if the soil is sufficiently rich in nutrients), its adaptability (a shorter or later cropping calendar, a resistant variety...) or its capacity to evolve (a cultural reorientation, coverage by a protective net...). These considerations must always be set in a regional context, where the specific features of farms, suppliers, distributors, service providers and infrastructures must be taken into account.

As a result, when faced with bad weather, growers and the industry adopt different strategies, sometimes transforming their difficulties into new opportunities:

·       Crop protection: physical protection with greenhouses, tunnels, tarpaulins, nets... and inputs such as biostimulants to boost crops. But also the creation of ponds and water reserves, where possible...

·       Varietal selection: in particular, varieties that perform well even in unfavorable conditions, whose growth duration is predictable, and or that can adapt to earlier or later sowing or planting...

·       Shifts in cropping calendars, with certain crops planted later or with better protection being able to produce more quickly...

·       New crops, such as citrus in France, melons in Brittany or sweet potatoes in the Netherlands... or relocation...

·       Adoption of technology: digitization of data, decision support, automation of work...

For producers, it's aquestion of understanding and mitigating risks, in particular by promoting the biodiversity of ecosystems, which are more stable and offer greater resistance, or capacity to avoid or withstand disturbances, and greater capacity to recover after disturbances. And for consumers, at a time of rising costs, social tensions, financial instability and accelerating environmental degradation, there are two key aspects: traceability and sustainability.

Public authorities play a key role in creating the right conditions for investment in agricultural resilience: risk awareness, the ability to cope with weather, market and other shocks, and a culture of adaptability.

Whatever the case, growing "better", reducing losses in the field and during transport, and harvesting quality produce suited to its intended use are all the more important. That's why Consentio is keeping a close eye on these issues, while working on valid solutions with a real impact on:

·       Enabling a smoother and faster supply, resulting in more quality/freshness and less waste

·       Traceability and food safety

·       Measuring sustainable development by collecting environmental data (CO2 footprint)

·       Facilitating communication and transactions between different operators

Read it or stream it fresh produce industry insights every week.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.