The world’s population will rise to 9 billion people over the next 35 years. That’s 9 billion mouths to feed! Conventional agricultural methods aren’t up to the challenge: we’re already seeing problems such as the degradation of soil fertility, the vulnerability of monocultures to pests and diseases and the depletion of fertilizer stocks. But help may be at hand from nature: natural (eco)systems offer sustainable solutions that could allow us to overcome all these problems.
On 21 April, leading scientists will discuss the potential of ecologically intensive methods to transform agriculture. The basic idea couldn’t be simpler: just work with nature and use natural processes to develop robust agricultural systems. Yields will be more stable as well as higher.
It’s important that agriculture and agricultural policy stop focusing only on maximizing crops. We should open our eyes to other aspects: the structure and fertility of the soil for instance, soil communities and biodiversity. These are things that can make agro-ecological methods more robust and healthy. If we apply the latest insights, the soil could even become self-sufficient to a high degree. There would be less need for working, conditioning and irrigating the soil and poisonous pesticides would become a thing of the past.
At the conference, scientists from around the globe will share their knowledge of ecological principles in agriculture and how to apply them in today’s world in different agricultural systems. View here the keynote speeches.