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The big agroecology transition in our fields

Around the world, awareness is growing: we must protect resources, and, quite simply, nature. We must take care of the soil, water and even insects, if we want to leave our children with a planet that's in good working order!

And for that, we must be more ecological in our farming. At Bonduelle, we have decided on an ideal that we wish to follow: agroecology.

The farmers who work with us have already begun their transition towards this more respectful approach to agriculture, some have even completed the transition already.

So, how does one go about adopting a 'green' agricultural strategy exactly?

Agroecology, our model

The main principles of agroecology are simple: it is about working with nature rather than against it, so as to preserve it instead of weaken or destroy it.

In other words, it is about making good use of nature's existing strengths to grow crops, instead of forcing production with phytosanitary products.

Implementing the transition

Of course, for the transition to be effective, it is not enough to occasionally replace one or two of the older intensive farming practices with alternative techniques just to set an example.

We have therefore identified the techniques that will have the greatest impact, with a view to developing them on a large scale.

To select the techniques that will be the biggest game-changers with regard to certain important points, we have defined five key areas: soils, biodiversity, CO2, water, and natural treatments.

What are the best practices chosen as an alternative to chemicals?

Each of the agroecology techniques (or alternative farming techniques) contributes significantly to at least one of these major objectives.

Here are some of the best practices we are putting into place.

To protect soil

Objective: to preserve natural land, which continues to play its role in the ecosystem (such as draining water to avoid flooding).

There is, of course, the famous crop rotation technique, already widely practised by our partners farmers, as well as vegetation cover, organic fertilisers and less ploughing.

To increase biodiversity

Objective: to cultivate without having a negative effect on insect populations, other animals and plant life.

Replace chemical pesticides (phytosanitary products) with natural techniques (biocontrol), plant hedges and untreated flower strips to attract insects...

To reduce the carbon footprint

Objective: reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit our impact on global warming.

It is essentially a question of replacing phytosanitary products with natural options. Using natural fertilisers, such as manure, liquid manure and specific crops (bio-fumigants) cleans the soil.

To optimise water quality and efficiency

Objective: implement agricultural practices that consume less water and do not pollute it.

Alternative techniques entail irrigating more accurately and efficiently (with water sensors, drip irrigation, etc.), choosing less water-hungry seeds, retaining water in the soil through mulching or, quite simply, working the soil less.

To reduce chemical residues

Objectives: to reduce phytosanitary-product residues in plants and soils.

Again, a key strategy is to replace plant-protection products with natural fertilisers or pesticides, as in organic farming. We are also promoting mechanical techniques, such as mechanical weeding, insect nets and mulching...

"This transition towards agroecology is ambitious, but we are convinced that it is necessary: by 2025, we hope to be using an alternative technique on every cultivated area!" 

Across the world, alternative farming techniques are continuing to develop in our fields, as demonstrated by this farmer in the north of France:

Our sustainable development approach

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