Having dealt with unparalleled upheaval due to the Covid-19 pandemic, close to 72 percent of farmers in India, USA, France, China, Brazil, and across Africa are worried about the impact of climate change on crop yields, animal health and their ability to do business over the next five years. These farmers are unanimous that their businesses have been hit significantly by lockdown, yet they believe addressing climate change remains an immediate priority. These insights are based on a recent global survey undertaken by the Ipsos MORI on behalf of Syngenta.
In keeping with the expectations of farmers, Syngenta has launched a new Good Growth Plan which has placed the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss at the core of agriculture’s recovery from the economic and social effects of the Covid-19 restrictions. With fresh commitments to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint and to help farmers deal with the extreme weather patterns caused by climate change, the company has committed to invest US$2 billion in sustainable agriculture by 2025 and to deliver two technological breakthroughs to market each year.
Erik Fyrwald, Chief Executive Officer, Syngenta Group said, “Like a pandemic, climate change is an inevitable threat that we must address before it is too late. As the economy and agriculture begin to build back with the gradual easing of the Covid-19 restrictions, we need to support a recovery for farmers that puts the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss at its core. The post-Covid agriculture needs accelerated innovation to recover better and fight climate change. Since its launch the Good Growth Plan’s principles and priorities have become deeply embedded in the way we do business at Syngenta. The plan was of course, just the start.”
Alexandra Brand, Chief Sustainability Officer at Syngenta Group said, “When we speak to farmers, we see they are the first to be harmed by climate change and biodiversity loss. Now the Covid restrictions could also have long lasting effects on the food and agriculture sector.
“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.”
Rafael Del Rio, Managing Director, Syngenta India said that “the plan is particularly relevant to India as agriculture is the mainstay of the region’s economy and provides employment to more than 52 percent of its population. By linking up this initiative to the Cutting Edge and Sustainable Solutions, we, have set ourselves specific targets related to improving resource efficiency, rejuvenating ecosystems and revitalising rural communities in India.
Dr. KC Ravi, Chief Sustainability Officer, Syngenta India said, “We are dedicated to contribute to the Indian agriculture sector. Our philosophy and priorities have constantly been on addressing the challenges facing India and Indian agriculture.”
“India continues to hold great promise for Syngenta, and we are now embarking on a new journey with the second phase of the Good Growth Plan. In the first phase of the plan we reached out and trained 7.4 million farmers and 2.5 million small holders on safe and sustainable use of pesticides. We partnered with major value chain companies and are working with them on sharing best practices to produce the crops in sustainable way,” he added.
Under the six commitments, Syngenta initiated Soil Analysis Programs and have trained growers on the importance of soil health and the optimum use of fertilisers, covering 7,870 hectares across India. As part of the biodiversity commitment, the company initiated a project Operation Pollinator in 2017 which helped in boosting the number of pollinating insects on commercial farms. It has partnered with an NGO Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals (ISAP) to educate and train growers on pollinator safety programme in Karnataka.
The new Good Growth Plan has specific commitments in four major areas: Accelerating innovation for farmers and nature; Striving for carbon neutral agriculture; Helping people stay safe and healthy; and Partnering for impact. Syngenta has also committed to reducing the carbon intensity of its operations upto 50 percent by 2030 to support the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.