Investing in the ground beneath our feet could have wide-ranging benefits for the environment, animal and human health – as well as moving closer to Net Zero, according to research led by the Institute for Global Food Safety (IGFS) at Queen’s University Belfast.
Improving soils would also create a host of other, ancillary benefits including ecosystem services, making it a ‘win-win’, according to the scientists.
Spinoff benefits could include improved biodiversity; flood and erosion mitigation; increased crop yields (important in terms of a growing global population); better animal health and welfare; a reduced need for artificial fertilisers and therefore less pollution; and enhanced nutritional value of food produced.
Governments, however, need to quickly implement ‘regenerative agriculture’ policies to incentivise farmers to take up the challenge, the researchers argue.
In Scotland 600 rural businesses with projects that protect the environment and mitigate the impact of climate change will share £30 million from the latest round of the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) 2021 from the Scottish Government.
Applications for the next round are open and will close on Friday 29 April 2022. Farmers and crofters will be able to apply for support for conversion to and maintenance of organic land, alongside a suite of other measures aimed at promoting low carbon farming and protecting the environment.
Rural Affairs Secretary, in the Scottish Government Mairi Gougeon said:
“AECS has provided almost 3,000 applicants with around £244 million since it launched. This funding for the sector has helped us restore and enhance nature through increased biodiversity, improved soils and contributions to mitigating climate change at the same time as providing high quality, locally produced food.”
Archived story: “Regenerative farming is the way to go.”
Report Link: Potential Co-benefits and trade-offs between improved soil management, climate change mitigation and agri-food productivity
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