Monday, July 13, 2020

Embrapa and Bayer begin pilot project in low-carbon agriculture

The initiative, discussed on the morning of Last Friday (July 3), with the presence of Embrapa's Executive Board and Bayer's leaders, focuses on increasing the competitiveness and sustainability of agro, from the adoption of low carbon technologies, with a guarantee of financial return to rural producers. The intention is that the project, called "Pilot assessment of the carbon balance in corn and soybean production in south-central Brazil, for sustainable development (2020/2021)", will begin later this month.
According to Bayer's Director of Sustainability, Eduardo Bastos, the goal is to contribute more than R$ 1.2 million involving the participation of Embrapa Environment, Embrapa Instrumentation and Embrapa Agricultural Informatics. "There is enormous potential to remunerate the producer who adopts low carbon farming techniques," he said. "With this, it will be possible to ensure productivity, improvement in socio-environmental risk management and also contribute to the reputation of Brazilian agro, showing that the activity is part of the solution of climate change and not the problem."
At the end of last year, Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina met with Bayer representatives and one of the main themes of the meeting was low-carbon agriculture. The meeting motivated the development of a project focused on three main pillars: agenda of payments for environmental services, focused on carbon (whose scientific basis will come from the partnership with Embrapa); train and train field teams in low-carbon agriculture and disseminate their benefits to both producers and society. "We will tropicalize a lot of information and show that tropical agriculture can be more sustainable than temperate agriculture," he said.
For the next phase of the project, scheduled for the period 2021-2024, Bayer intends to expand the actions, this time in partnership with the governments of Germany and Brazil. The director said that among Bayer's 2030 targets are to contribute to the 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in global agriculture, 30% of the environmental impact of new technologies and the improvement of the lives of 100 million smallholder farmers. "We have an average emission of 4 million tons and 200,000 are in Latin America," he said. Brazil, the United States and India are regions considered priority by Bayer for the implementation of low carbon projects.
Embrapa's president, Celso Moretti, highlighted strategies related to sustainability under development with the company's participation, such as the ABC Plan (Low Carbon Agriculture), in which biological control projects, biological nitrogen fixation, waste treatment and Crop-Livestock-Forest Integration (ILPF) are inserted.
"We are very committed to finding solutions to demonstrate the capacity of brazilian agro to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to contribute to the sustainability of systems and certify producers." He cited the concept of carbon neutral meat, which had the certification process of producers and ranchers in partnership with the company Marfrig started this year. Moretti also highlighted the potential for the application of the same concept in the lowland rice production chain and in dairy cattle. "This all reinforces the project's proposal," he said. "Who knows in the future we will have a carbon neutral concept related to property certification?".
Celso Moretti said that the topic discussed with Bayer is related to several embrapa research portfolios, such as climate change, forest systems, grains, rational management of pesticides, forests and environmental services, among others. "Embrapa has been changing its business model with private partners to innovation projects – currently, 15% of programming is already conducted in cooperation with the private sector," he explained.
For Moretti, Embrapa generates and delivers enormous value to the Brazilian agro, but it is still inefficient in capturing the value of the assets placed on the market. "Therefore, we will start a new phase, with the support of the framework of the Legal Framework of Science and Technology, making contracts, becoming partners in initiatives, sharing risks and benefits", he explained.
The director of Bayer's Center for Expertise in Tropical Agriculture (Ceat), Dirceu Junior, recalled the importance of the trajectory with Embrapa, and drew attention to the partnership with Monsanto prior to bayer's acquisition of the company. "The landmark agreement between Bayer in Germany and Embrapa in Brazil was in 2015, with the pollinator project, then Asian soybean rust and IWM (Integrated weed management), which is integrated weed management."
Dirceu Junior said that in the three projects were invested 28 million reais with the participation of 10 units and more than 30 researchers. "On monsanto legacy's part, since 2006, there have been 68 projects - 17 still ongoing - a cumulative investment of 32 million reais, 19 units involved and 45 researchers," he said. "If we add it all up, it's 60 million reais. More than that, the intellectual capacity that the two companies have committed cannot value."
The feasibility of the project will be conducted by the Directors of Innovation and Technology, Adriana Martin, and Research and Development, Guy de Capdeville. "It's a large proposal that meets many activities we're doing," Guy de Capdeville said. "These are innovation challenges, focused on impact targets that the private sector needs and we have the capacity to certify these chains at all stages," he said, stressing concern about the Amazon biome, which, according to him, requires analysis and attention, so that socioeconomic benefits are offered to the population, with environmental preservation.
Representing Bayer, the Director of Sustainability, Eduardo Bastos, participated in the videoconference; the director of the Center for Expertise in Tropical Agriculture (Ceat), Dirceu Junior; the partnership manager and member of Ceat, Renato Luzzardi; the Director of Agricultural Policy and Stakeholder Relations, Alessandra Fajardo; and the head of Public Affairs, Science and Sustainability for Latin America, Alejandro Girardi. Ceat is Bayer's area dedicated to promoting innovation for tropical agriculture, through public and private partnerships, in the development of research and projects. Implemented in 2015, the center's main focus is Brazil, its crops and the challenges of tropical agriculture.
R7 - 13/07/2020 News Item translated automatically
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