Nowadays, human being ́s demand for the global agriculture is to increase quantity and quality of food production, taking care of environment, using less fossil fuel and purchased inputs, promoting biodiversity, efficiency, resilience, climate change adaptation and mitigation. In the Southern Cone of America, we have been working on addressing this challenge for more than 40 years now. Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay have massively implemented advanced technological, organizational and institutional innovations that have increased competitiveness and productivity with farming systems, which are environmentally friendly.
The world is supposed to produce 50% more food by 2050 using available natural resources efficiently and sustainably while reducing greenhouse gases emissions (GHG) per unit produced. However, some 89% of the current world crop production is managed under conventional tillage based systems, which degrade the environment, are inefficient in terms of resource use, and contribute to global warming. The intensive crop production (cereals and oilseeds) in these four countries is also associated with pastures and other fodder crops for intensive livestock production.
This modern agriculture is based on what is internationally known as Conservation Agriculture, a No-Till System with no soil disturbance, permanently covered soils and diversity in the crops grown including rotation, along with the integration of crop-livestock-tree systems, crop-livestock agroforestry systems, strategic and balanced nutrition of soil health, integrated management of insects,weeds and diseases with a responsible use of agrochemicals and veterinary drugs.
The rapid adoption of this system particularly since 1990 was possible in part because local companies manufactured machinery adapted to the demands of local farmers. Conservation Agriculture systems reduce soil erosion and degradation, improves rainwater storage in the soil and increases its use efficiency and increases water use effi ciency, recovers, maintains and improves soil health, promotes nutrient cycling, reduces GHG emissions, increases carbon sequestration, allows greater and more stable productivity.
Science and technology development are crucial for the challenge to increase production while taking care of environment and human health. Despite scientists, policy makers and others keep discussing how to feed the increasing population on this planet; farmers are not involved centrally in such discussions.