Large-scale farmers in several countries say they are worrried about climate change and crop yields, which has been exacerbated by the upheaval from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey from The Syngenta Group.
Some 72% percent say climate impact could affect their ability to do business over the next five years. In Europe, 46% of farmers say the pressure of coronavirus has substantially affected how they operate.
A majority 53% from the survey (which included France, the United States, China, Brazil, India and other countries in Africa), said climate change was still an immediate priority. Nearly 63% agreed climate change would have a greater impact on their business than Covid-19 over the next five years.
“The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the fragility of the agriculture ecosystem,” says Erik Fyrwald, Chief Executive Officer at the Syngenta Group. “Like a pandemic, climate change is an inevitable threat that we must address before it is too late. As the economy and agriculture begin to build back with the gradual easing of the Covid-19 restrictions, we need to support a recovery for farmers that puts the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss at its core.”
To that end, the Syngenta Group launched the Good Growth Plan, placing the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss at the core of agriculture’s recovery from the economic and social effects of the Covid-19 restrictions. It now includes bold new commitments to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint and to help farmers deal with the extreme weather patterns caused by climate change.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI, found that 80% believe climate change has impacted farmers’ ability to grow food. Most (59%) believe reducing greenhouse gas emissions can make their farms more financially stable or competitive.
The Swiss-headquartered and China-owned Syngenta Group, one of the world’s leading agriculture innovation companies, said it has achieved or exceeded all the targets from the original Good Growth Plan launched in 2013, including bringing more than 14 million hectares of farmland back from the brink of degradation and enhancing biodiversity on more than 8 million hectares of farmland.
Under the new Good Growth Plan, Syngenta Group says it is committed to invest $2 billion in sustainable agriculture by 2025 and to deliver two technological breakthroughs to market each year.
This includes a commitment to reduce the carbon intensity of its operations by 50% by 2030 to support the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.