A More Resilient And Sustainable Food Production System Is Within Our Reach.

The need for a sustainable and secure global food system has never been more urgent. Climate change, the pandemic, food security and many other global challenges call for new approaches.

The extreme effects of climate change have the global agricultural production system under pressure. Despite important agricultural advancements, changes in global temperatures are responsible for a 21 percent drop in farming productivity since the early 1960s.[i] Simply put, the world is asking us to “do better”. We must move beyond the conventional separation between sustainability and performance and ensure biologicals, and regenerative biostimulants, are part and parcel of crop input practices.

Warnings from the recent COP27 and COP15 conferences of mounting food insecurity around the world confirm that we’re all responsible for meeting this challenge. We must embrace more sustainable solutions, protect crops from increasingly difficult conditions, and help protect yields to produce the food needed for growing populations.

It’s time to push back on misconceptions about sustainable crop protection and embrace biologicals

Our industry has a long history of regarding biological crop protection products – naturally occurring materials that optimize crop production – with suspicion. I should know because I was one of them. As a Florida grower, to me, biologicals were “fairy dust,” experimental treatments too risky to use. It took a change of career direction, including experience with no-till agriculture and selling farm equipment in the developing world, to finally shift my point of view and get me to re-examine agricultural tech.

In fact, I went from doubter to a complete believer. Today, many people I talk to in our industry have the same kind of misconceptions I had as a grower. The fact is, the idea you can’t have both crop performance, and sustainability simply isn’t true. And the kicker? Proven sustainable solutions exist – and they’re already changing the game.

Biostimulants have created a paradigm shift – bringing the global agriculture sector together around solutions that provide performance and sustainability

At Acadian Plant Health, the company I joined as President in 2019, we have a vision to reconcile the trade-off between performance and sustainability. While farmers have the challenge of producing more food, agriculture continues to be a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn exacerbates food security. To turn this vision into reality we need deep and lasting changes to our global food and agriculture systems to unleash the most important change opportunity in our industry in 75 years. We must endeavor to collaborate with key stakeholders to bring more innovation to farmers worldwide. Only together can we drive the wider transformation that is needed to create sustainable agriculture.

Our goal is to partner with crop protection, biostimulant and fertilizer companies to bring this vision to life. The impact of climate change will continue to bring more frequent weather conditions that farmers and our food system will feel the consequences and biostimulants are part of the solution.

We’re leading the charge in thinking beyond the simple opportunity of biostimulants to economic transformation of the crop inputs business

The idea that biologicals are a risky and experimental fad has passed. At Acadian, we’re creating meaningful value for multinationals, formulators, distributors and farmers. We’re doing that by providing tools that can sit alongside and complement existing technologies.

It’s why we’ve invested in our second global Centre of Excellence in Malvern, UK which is equipped with state-of-the-art scientific equipment needed to develop formulations that meet the needs of global agribusiness companies. Our scientists have expertise in the agrichemical, fertilizer and biostimulant industries and are creating tailored new proprietary formulations to meet market need for both abiotic stress management as well as the productivity of the crop.

The agricultural sector must seize the opportunities that lead to solutions and commitments to sustainable food production

Regenerative biostimulants are a unique opportunity for our industry to meet the needs of agriculture with crop performance and sustainability, all in one powerful package growers can feel confident using without risking their bottom line. The tide is quite literally turning in favor of biologicals, and we’re seeing that in the increased collaboration between biostimulant and crop protection and fertilizer companies.

However you look at it, it’s a win-win that’s leading to mutual business growth, stronger plants, more satisfied and prosperous growers, and above all, strengthened global food supply chain. Our industry is faced with challenges brought by unprecedented change happening the world over. That means changing things on a global scale. Let’s see beyond the conventional and work together to advance sustainability, for the benefit of plant and planet.

[i] Ortiz-Bobea et al., 2021, Nature Climate Change, Vol. 11, Anthropogenic climate change has slowed global agricultural productivity growth.