THE NEXT STEP IN
Polyculture is the opposite of monoculture. While monoculture systems are based on crop specialization and extensive usage of chemicals, polyculture relies on biodiversity to ensure sustainability, natural resilience and land productivity.
In other words, polyculture brings together multiple species of plants and animals to the same area with the objective to ally with nature and benefit from carefully selected species combinations.
By creating such ecosystems, where species support each other in a balanced and resilient manner, polyculture fields take advantage from natural interrelations to produce more with less. The result is an increase in land productivity and a reduction in the need for inputs (chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, ....).
Additionally, such diversification practices help to prevent desertification and are commonly used to recover severely degraded areas, besides acting as an important contributor to carbon sequestration.
- Relevant?? - Polyculture fields contribute significantly to the land health maintenance, supporting microorganism and nutrient balance in the soil, as well as, insects and birds in the surface.
"Biodiversity loss and the climate crisis are interdependent and they exacerbate each other."
"We are losing nature like never before because of unsustainable human activities. The global population of wild species has fallen by 60% over the last 40 years. 1 million species are at risk of extinction."
"Biodiversity underpins EU and global food security. Biodiversity loss risks puts our food systems and nutrition at risk."
"Biodiversity loss results in reduced crop yields and fish catches, increased economic losses from flooding and other disasters, and the loss of potential new sources of medicine"
"More than 75% of global food crop types rely on animal pollination."
"On average, global mean crop yields of rice, maize and wheat are projected to decrease between 3% and 10% per degree of warming above historical levels."
Supporting biodiversity - DATA
Resilient ecosystem, natural balance - DATA
Higher land productivity - Higher yields for a given area - DATA
No need for inputs (chemicals, human intervention) - DATA
Natural pest management, disease control, weed suppression - DATA
Lower human intervention - DATA
Healthier soil, prevent soil degradation and desertification - DATA
Regenerative agriculture, capable of restoring degraded areas - DATA
Carbon soil sequestration/storage, lower carbon footprint - DATA/PAGE
Efficient resource / energy utilization (soil, sun light, water, …) - DATA
It consists of strips (several rows) of
different plants growing at same time
side by side on the field. Such diversity
prevents pest insects and slows down
the spread of diseases without the usage
of chemicals, besides not only supporting
soil health and local species of insects
and birds, but also increasing yields
due to plants interrelations.
INTERCROPPING - picture / DATA ?
Intercropping fields use different plant
species intercalated in rows...
PERMACULTURE / FOOD GARDEN / FOOD FOREST
Challenges / what's missing / what's holding it back
WHY FARMERS ARE NOT USING IT?
Indeed, polyculture for large-scale agriculture is a relatively new idea. Research activities have only recently started to give more attention to how to scale these techniques. It is not a surprise that there are still many questions to be answered, such as:
What combinations of species to select?
What is the optimal field layout?
What are the steps for implementation and field maintenance?
How to account for the current machinery available?
How to market polyculture products?
Is it economically viable?
The polyculture fields currently in place are commonly small-scale gardens or experimentation plots. Which is expected/natural, considering the industry's traditional drivers and the complexity attached to plan and manage such diversity on the field.
(still work in progress...)
Link to how we will solve it
We are determined to shake the industry and prove that it is possible to grow large amounts of food sustainably and economically ... by doing this and that....