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.

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.

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. Improve livelihoods and foster inclusive economic growth;
  4. 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;
  5. Adapt the industry governance to new challenges, thanks to several regulations prone to make possible equilibrium between public and private, ensuring transparency and equity.

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