Sustainable agriculture: definition and principles
The goals of sustainable agriculture are to respect natural resources, the earth, and biodiversity, ensuring at the same time human beings’ nutrition, despite both climate change and burgeoning world population.
The word “sustainability” is not just referred to the environment, but also to social equity. Indeed, the challenge is to ensure people’s health, the producers’ quality of life, and the human rights of those who work in the industry
Another challenge is to use new technologies in order to accomplish Agriculture 4.0, employing connectivity, AI, and the Internet of Things in an industry which has so far remained on the margins of innovation.
We at Op.Euro.Com care about sustainability more than ever, not only because we have always loved our lands, but also because the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, approved by the United Nations General Assembly, establishes a targeted action program, to be achieved in the environmental, economic, social, and institutional fields.
In a world where sustainability is an essential element for our future, we have chosen to take a responsable approach to agriculture. We are committed to growing our products with respect of the environment and biodiversity, preserving natural resources for future generations.
In an increasingly 'GREEN' perspective, we have invested in the construction of a large solar panels system covering the entire surface area of our warehouse (approx. 6000 m2). We have also extended this investment to all of our farms (production sites) by participating in the public tender 'Parco Agrisolare', in order to reduce high energy consumption by upgrading production facilities and using the roofs of buildings as a base to install our panels.
Solar panels collect the sun's energy, transforming it into a clean and inexhaustible power source, drastically reducing Co2 emissions, which are measured daily.
The decision to use solar panels to power the cultivation of our baby leaves, fresh herbs and head salads, not only contributes to the fight against climate change, but also allows us to preserve the integrity of the Piana del Sele.
The five principles of sustainable agriculture
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an organisation supervised by the United Nations, listed five principles that have to inspire sustainable agriculture and it published in 2018 a document that summarises 20 necessary actions to achieve 17 sustainable development goals.
- Increase productivity, employment, and value addition in food systems by changing agricultural practices and processes to ensure food supplies whilst simultaneously reducing water and energy consumption. To meet these goals, the companies in our group Euro.Com use all the good agronomic procedures, such as continuous climate monitoring. Thanks to our climate cabin, we are able to quantify leaves transpiration and terrain evaporation and therefore to bring necessary quantities to plants, through smart irrigations;
- Protect and enhance natural resources, foster environmental conservation by reducing pollution of water sources, the destruction of habitats and ecosystems and soil degradation. We at Op.Euro.Como try to minimise the environmental impact by using the minimum quantity of pesticide according to the laws, protecting the ecosystem and creating spaces for the natural proliferation of the apiary and places for birds and bats. We use a large number of techniques, such as crop rotation to improve and preserve terrains fertility, biological control to monitor good parasites, predators, parasitoids and microorganisms such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Furthermore, covering the terrain with straw and organic matter, which is helpful to keep optimal humidity in the terrain and regulates the soil temperature;
- Improve livelihoods and foster inclusive economic growth;
- Enhance the resilience of people, communities, and ecosystems. This means to transform production models to minimise the impact on agriculture resulting from climate change-related extreme events and market price volatility;
- Adapt the industry governance to new challenges, thanks to several regulations prone to make possible equilibrium between public and private, ensuring transparency and equity.