Circular agriculture is the key to the bioeconomy that we already discussed in another article. The circular balance must be economic, social and environmental.
What is circular agriculture?
It is a way of generating cultivation taking into account:
- Cultivated varieties.
- Control of the waste that is generated.
- The optimization of water and energy.
- Plan agri-food services.
- Respect for the environment.
- Save resources.
- Maximize product quality.
The key to circular agriculture is related to the 3Rs ( reduce, recycle, reuse ).
We must reduce expenses, losses, waste and natural resources such as water and energy.
We must recycle the waste and the seeds obtained from the fruits.
Reuse the land by exchanging crops and residues, turning them into compost or animal feed.
Strategies to achieve circular agriculture
The basis of a circular agriculture is to make it sustainable and ecological. Increasingly the consumer seeks quality and the farmer seeks to optimize production by increasing the quantity of product and at the same time reducing costs. The key is to close a circle between all phases of production, services, saving water and energy, caring for the environment and the consumer. We must also convert waste into resources.
From the beginning of the plantation, the farmer must look for strategies that help to:
- First reduce product losses.
- It is very important that production is feasible, equitable and economically and socially sustainable.
- It is essential to respect the environment.
- Also minimize expenses.
Promote renewable resources
They are the resources that nature offers us.
- Use solar energy as much as possible. Solar panels to control humidity and temperature sensors .
- Also the responsible use of water . Optimize irrigation and find the most convenient for each crop.
- Encourage the use of rainwater .
- Control the branches that we can or the weeds that must be recycled to regenerate the land naturally.
- Also create natural fertilizers. Compost and excrement of animals.
- And finally, promote electric vehicles as much as possible.
Science and research in circular agriculture
Use new technologies to optimize production costs while maximizing the quality of the fruit.
La agricultura de precisión del suelo con sensores inalámbricos de humedad, temperatura y conductividad que optimizan el agua y ahorran energía.
Administrations must investigate new cultivation techniques, varieties that are more productive and adapted to intensive cultivation. Also resistant to pests.
Public and private investments must collaborate.
Organize agricultural fairs and information courses to learn about new technologies.
Control climate change
An important part of circular farming is minimizing the impact on climate change.
- Reduce or recycle natural waste that is very abundant in intensive plantations. Pruning branches and leaves, unusable fruits. Use it to make natural fertilizers.
- Recycle plastics from greenhouses and intensive plantations that they use to cover furrows.
- Avoid salinity by controlling the accumulation of salts with controlled irrigation.
- Regenerate the soil atmosphere with tillage.
- Restore degenerated or eroded soils.
- Swap crops seasonally to avoid soil erosion.
- Use covers that prevent evaporation. They can be natural from the farm itself or plastic.
- It is essential to avoid pesticides.
All encompassed within a circular economy that affects to all sectors and helps foster sustainability.
Traditional circular agriculture
Circular agriculture is closely related to biodynamic agriculture , and can be traditional or intensive.
A farm that is self-sufficient with agriculture and livestock is not the same as an intensive vegetable plantation.
We can find in many areas of northern Spain agricultural and livestock farms that are self-sufficient in a circular way. Also agricultural and livestock cooperatives that collaborate in a circular cycle with recycling of waste and use to avoid chemical fertilizers.
Another circular system is formed by the meadows with open-air livestock, forming a natural ecosystem.
Plantae has already participated in different environmental forums, as we already explained in another article Conference at the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Forum where we placed special emphasis on the « Importance of holm oaks in climate change «.
Intensive circular agriculture
The problem is different in intensive agricultural plantations and in greenhouses. In this new form of agriculture we have to find ways to close a circle with livestock and other agronomic factors.
Pruning remains, fruits not valid for consumption due to their defects, plastics, excess water from irrigation ... must be recycled to produce compost and serve as plant nutrients or collected for reuse.
Intensive agriculture is essential to reach the necessary amount of food that the population needs in the future.
The most important thing in intensive crops is the control of water and nutrients that we need for its cultivation as an economic point. Then the connection between different technological organizations so that intensive plantations recycle their waste and it can be reused by them or by others.
The two types of agriculture, traditional and intensive, have to complement each other, because they depend on external factors such as climate, irrigated or rainfed, and others.
The other factor to take into account is the control of waste, not focusing only on production but on saving consumption and recycling.
The goal is to find:
- First an interconnection between agriculture, livestock, biotechnology and the consumer.
- Also base production on a circular bioeconomy including all agri-food sectors.
- Concluding putting the objective of obtaining the benefits with reduction, recycling, reuse .
Plantae committed to a circular and sustainable economy
Our company, as we have already indicated on many occasions, favors sustainable agriculture in several factors:
- Our products are inexpensive.
- All sensors and probes are wireless and with solar powered hub.
- Save water with your irrigation control.
- It saves energy because we have to irrigate less and we can control the operation from the mobile or tablet.
- We avoid soil deterioration by controlling salinity.
- Quality is favored and we have less waste of spoiled fruits.
- Production is increased favoring the economy to producers and consumers.
- With the humidity control the development of excessive weeds is avoided and also the growth of the plant in a controlled way. Thus we avoid an excess of stubble and pruning.
Therefore, our commitment is with the quality and quantity of the product. This encompassed with the good use of the consumer and the use of waste will lead us to turn the linear agri-food economy into a circular one. Always with the help of recycling and reusing waste.
All for a better, greener and more sustainable future.