This week saw the publication of a report on Sustainable Intensification by the Rise Foundation.
This project and report was initiated by the RISE Foundation to explore the relevance and meaning of the concept of Sustainable Intensification for the European Union and for its future agricultural policy.
This report concludes that sustainable intensification is a logically correct approach, and that for Europe the emphasis has to be further improvement of the environmental credentials of European agriculture. The 2011-14 CAP reform debate ostensibly gave prominence to the improvement of the sustainability of EU agriculture too, but it is judged not to have advanced very far.
The report makes three key points:
• The agricultural input which needs to be intensified across all of Europe is knowledge per hectare. This means knowledge in managing delicate ecosystems, knowledge to ensure that pollinator populations thrive, knowledge to make water management minimise flooding, as well as knowledge to achieve more food output per hectare.
• The EU needs to devise a measurement tool for environmental farming performance. It would be strongly preferable to build on an EU-wide set of indicators already developed, for example the Joint Research Centre’s IRENA indicators.
• In addition to better enforcement of existing environmental regulations, and using policy measures under the CAP, changes in farming practices must also come from farmers and private actors themselves. Many companies up- and downstream already operate sustainability schemes, some of which are reviewed in the report. These should be strengthened and broadened, with more efforts to monitor and demonstrate their impact.
For the full report please follow the link below: http://www.risefoundation.eu/publications
The Rise Foundation aims to promote a sustainable, profitable and internationally competitive rural economy across Europe and to preserve the European countryside, its environment and biodiversity, cultural heritage and traditions. It was founded by the European Landowners Organisation, of which Scottish Land & Estates is part.