Monday 21 june 2021
The application of agroecological principles and practices has an important role to play in the transition to sustainable food systems, also in the case of soy. Soy is a high value protein and oil product for feed, food, and other purposes, but its production is often associated with conversion of ecosystems, and with an intensive use of chemicals. Our new report offers insights and extensive recommendations to actors in the soy value chain on how to allow nature to offer us more resilience in the future of soy cultivation.
Header photo soy plantation by Maxpixel
Agroecology integrates ecological principles and biodiversity management into farming systems with the aims of increasing the multi-functionality and total farm productivity, while reducing dependency on external inputs, and sustaining or enhancing ecosystem services. IUCN NL together with the University of Buenos Aires have written an 18-page paper discussing how to bridge the insights from the current ‘agroecological niche’ in the market to the – almost 400 million tonnes – global ‘mainstream’ high input soy market. Should they remain worlds apart or can soy production overall become more future proof by applying such practices?
Criteria for conversion-free and responsible soy production
Soy standards such as RTRS, ProTerra or Donau Soja already provide criteria for conversion-free and responsible production and are among those actors that could help build a better bridge between current soy production and agroecological principles and practices. Some well-known examples of agroecological practices in soy are no-till or conservation tillageNo-till can be a component of industrial farming systems but also of agroecological practice when combined with natural control mechanisms for managing insect pests, pathogens and weeds and therefore … Continue reading, natural pest control, integrated pest management or crop rotations The figure below gives various examples of agroecological practices.
Examples of agroecological practices
Benefits of agroecological production systems
Benefits of agroecological production systems include:
- Improved biodiversity
- Reduced harm from agrochemicals
- Improved climate smart practices and increased resource efficiency
- Reduced vulnerability and improved socio-economic resilience
The paper comes up with recommendations to many actors – from farmers to standards to governments to supermarket shelves.
|↑1||No-till can be a component of industrial farming systems but also of agroecological practice when combined with natural control mechanisms for managing insect pests, pathogens and weeds and therefore reducing the need of further artificial interventions.|