Author Archives: EVENOR - TECH

Missions in Horizon Europe

The European Commission has proposed a series of missions that are an integral part of the Horizon Europe framework program starting in 2021.

Each mission is a mandate to meet a pressing challenge in society within a certain time frame and budget.

The proposed missions are the following:

  • be bold, inspirational and widely relevant to society
  • be clearly framed: targeted, measurable and time-bound
  • establish impact-driven but realistic goals
  • mobilise resources
  • link activities across different disciplines and different types of research and innovation
  • drive a systemic change and transform landscapes rather than fix problems in existing ones
  • make it easier for citizens to understand the value of investments in research and innovation

And these missions will cover the following areas:

  • cancer
  • adaptation to climate change, including social transformation
  • healthy oceans and seas, coastal and inland waters
  • smart and climate neutral cities
  • soil and food health

Soil health and food

It is perhaps the most important area related to the CONSOLE project.

Land and soils are essential for all life support processes on our planet. They are the basis of the food we grow, as well as many other products such as feed, textiles or wood.

Soils also provide a variety of ecosystem services that are important for clean water, supporting biodiversity, or for nutrient cycling and climate regulation.

Soils are very dynamic and fragile systems, and they are a finite resource. It can take up to 1,000 years to produce 1 cm of soil.

Soils are facing pressures from an increasing population with requests for land for production, settlements and industries. Soils are also severely affected by climate change, erosion, compaction, and rising sea levels. About 33% of our global soils are degraded and, in the EU, erosion is affecting 25% of agricultural land.

Goals

A mission in the area of ​​food and soil health will provide a powerful tool to raise awareness about the importance of soils, interact with citizens, create knowledge and develop solutions to restore soil health and functions.

This will make it possible to take full advantage of the potential of soils to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The results will have a direct impact on the success of the European Commission’s new Green Deal and its ambition to advance climate, biodiversity and sustainable food.

Additional information

If you require more information about the missions, do not hesitate to consult the website of the European Commission. You only have to click here.

And if you want to be more informed, do not hesitate to sign up for our newsletter.

Natural Flood Management

Contract solutions for safeguarding the provision of multiple agri-environmental-climate public good in a very specific ecosystem

Learn from 5 CONSOLE case studies about the sustainable management and restoration of rivers, floodplains and river catchment areas!

79% of Spaniards are not properly informed about sustainable processes in agriculture

79% of Spaniards are not properly informed about sustainable processes in agriculture

Corteva Agriscience, a company in the agricultural sector in seed technology, crop protection and digital agriculture, prepared a report, “Sustainability in the food sector: a challenge for all”, in order to know the consumer, their demands, the existing trends related to the consumption of sustainably produced food.

The study has had the participation of 2,000 spaniards consumers, responsible for purchasing food products for the home. Likewise, it includes the perception and vision of representatives of the sector, such as AEPLA (Business Association for the Protection of Plants), or ANOVE (The National Association of Plant Breeders) and the distribution channel, with the contribution of ACES (Spanish Association of Chains de Supermarkets) and ASEDAS (Spanish Association of Distributors, Self-services and Supermarkets).

Consumers preferences

According to this repost, the 79% of Spaniards admit that they are not properly informed about the sustainable processes carried out in agriculture, according to a study carried out by the Corteva company among 2,000 consumers.

Corteva has prepared the report “Sustainability in the food sector: a challenge for all“, in order to know the consumer, their demands and the existing trends related to the purchase of food produced in a sustainable way.

The profile of the consumer who chooses more for this type of food corresponds to women (53.4%) between 25-35 years (54.4%) and who live in the Autonomous Communities of Galicia (59.4%), Aragon (58.3%) and Navarra (58%)

79% acknowledge that they are not correctly informed about the processes carried out in sustainable agriculture and a third of those surveyed interested in receiving more information.

Conclusions

In this sense, some of the conclusions drawn from this study reveal that 72% of respondents have knowledge about sustainable produced food and the vast majority of respondents (79.1%) acknowledged that they are not correctly informed of the processes carried out in sustainable agriculture, and from this data it is derived that more than 75% affirm that they would like to receive more information about the processes implemented to make this type of agriculture possible.

In terms of purchasing habits, 51% of consumers claim to have consumed more sustainably produced products compared to 49% who have maintained their usual purchasing trend. At this point, the main reasons why they argue to justify their purchase decision is that they are not well indicated (39%), they are not easily found (26%), they look at the price (15%), they do not find an improvement to the organoleptic level (20%) or concerned about their food safety (2%).

The profile of this emerging consumer corresponds to women (53.4%) between 25-35 years (54.4%) and who live in the Autonomous Communities of Galicia (59.4%), Aragon (58.3%) and Navarra (58%).

 

 

ECO-METHANE – Rewarding dairy farmers for low GHG emissions in France

How can new contract solutions support the mitigation of GHG emissions from agriculture and forestry?

Learn from 3 CONSOLE case studies which demonstrate the potential of innovative carbon market approaches in forests, on arable land and in dairy farming!

FoodSmartphone

Organic food is a real mine. Not surprisingly, the characteristics of its production, in which neither pesticides nor synthetic fertilizers can be used, make the product more expensive. 

This may be the case of the sale of products treated with pesticides, but which are sold as organic; or the sale of horse meat such as beef.

30% of consumers of organic products are under 25 years old

In the case of Olive Oil, the fruity and spicy flavours and the smell of cut grass, tomato and artichoke are some of the sensations that characterize premium quality extra virgin olive oil. Even a tingling in the back of your throat is a sign that it’s packed with health-enhancing antioxidants.

Europe produces 70% of the world’s olive oil so maintaining a reputation for quality and avoiding any deception is essential. And the same for the rest of agricultural and livestock products from Europe.

 

The concern of the European Union

The European administration is concerned with this matter, and for this, it is supporting and subsidizing a European project that tries to use smartphones to analyse the quality and safety of food on the spot.

In 2018, the European Commission, together with Europol, decided to launch a specific action on the control of organic production within the framework of Operation OPSON VIII. The aim of this operation was to protect the reputation of the EU eco-label and guarantee the confidence that European consumers have in it.

And this is because the key objectives of the Farm-to-Fork strategy to transform EU agriculture is the goal of promoting 25% organic food and farming by 2030.

Organic farming in the EU has a share of 8 to 9% of the total agricultural area

The FoodSmartphone initiative

It’s about the project FoodSmarthphone which proposes the development of smartphone-based analytical, diagnostic and detection tools for rapid, simplified on-site pre-screening of food quality and safety parameters and wireless data transfer to relevant stakeholders’ servers.

With this technology, both governments and industry will be able to react faster to an emergency problem and know more precisely which parts of the food chain to close.

The consortium

The consortium that composes FoodSmartphone, led by Wageningen University, comprises 7 training sites (3 universities, 3 research centres, 1 innovation SME), plus 5 partner organizations (1 global food industry, 1 diagnostic SME and 3 universities awarding PhD degrees)

The CONSOLE project wants to support this initiative that, without a doubt, will mark a before and after in the quality of European agricultural products that are moving towards a sustainable system.

 

 

 

The environmental perspective of agriculture

The environmental perspective in agriculture is one of the issues of paramount importance for the European Union. In this regard, one of the most serious environmental problems that threatens the sustainability of agricultural ecosystems in Europe is the degradation of the soil, considered an Agri-environmental goods for the development of crops.

Soil erosion

It is estimated that approximately 11.6% of all erosion-prone lands in the European Union were affected by moderate or severe soil erosion (more than 5 tonnes per hectare per year) in 2016; 80% being agricultural areas and grasslands (EUROSTAT, 2020)

Soil erosion by water on agricultural areas and natural grassland, NUTS 3 regions, 2016. Source: EUROSTAT

Soil erosion by water on agricultural areas and natural grassland, NUTS 3 regions, 2016. Source: EUROSTAT

Organic Carbon in Soils

One of the consequences of soil erosion is the loss of organic matter and Soil Organic Carbon (SOC). Taking into account that SOC is capital in all the processes that occur in the soil and in its quality, since it improves its structure, fertility and water storage capacity, a low content of this element constitutes a problem for the productive potential of our soils. Thus, Loveland and Webb (2003), in a review of the critical values of organic matter in agricultural soils of the temperate area, suggested that a carbon content of 1% could represent the threshold below which the production of crops it would be compromised, even supplying synthetic fertilizers. These same authors state, in the same study, that below 2% COS content.

Climate change

Another challenge that the agricultural sector faces is climate change and the need to mitigate it, as well as to contribute to the adaptation of crops to its effects. Not surprisingly, agriculture is one of the socioeconomic sectors most dependent on the climate, since most of the productivity and quality of agriculture depend directly on different climatic factors (McArthur, 2016).

CO2 and GHG emissions

It should be noted that in recent years the significant emissions of CO2 and other Greenhouse Gases (GHG) caused by soil tillage, in particular investment (moldboard plough, disk harrow), have been clearly highlighted. Historically, intensive tillage of agricultural land has caused substantial losses (from 30% to 50%) of soil carbon (Davidson et al., 1993). These CO2 losses are due to soil fragmentation caused by tillage, which facilitates the exchange of CO2 and O2 from the soil to the atmosphere and vice versa. Likewise, the energy consumption associated with the different agricultural practices (tillage, application of fertilizers and amendments, irrigation, phytosanitary treatments…) is carried out, basically, with the use of fossil fuels, especially diesel, which implies, unavoidable GHG emissions into the atmosphere. Thus, tillage implies a greater consumption of fossil fuels, which leads to greater atmospheric pollution, due to the emission of CO2 from said combustion, with the consequent potential effect of this pollution on global climate change.

CAP Orientation

These environmental issues have been addressed in the agricultural sector through the successive reforms of the CAP since 1992. In this sense, the CAP (2014-2020 and Post-2020) clearly favors agricultural systems that make a responsible use of resources natural resources for the production of quality food, posing not only economic challenges (food security, lower crop productivity, price volatility and economic crises), but also environmental (water and air quality, avoiding soil degradation, improvement and conservation of habitats and biodiversity and reduction of greenhouse gases) and territorial (diversify European agriculture and revalue rural areas).

References

  • Davidson, EA and IL Ackerman (1993). Changes in soil carbon inventories following cultivation of previously untilled soils. Biogeochemistry 20: 161-193.
  • EUROSTAT (2020). Agri-Environmental Indicator – Soil Erosion. Link
  • Loveland, P., WEebb, J., 2003. Is there a critical level of organic matter in the agricultural soils of temperate regions: a review. Soil Till. Res. 70, 1-18
  • McArthur, JW (2016). ‘Agriculture in the COP21 Agenda’, in: COP21 at Paris: What to expect. The issues, the actors, and the road ahead on climate change, Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, pp. 37-42.