Syngenta Good Growth: Programmes to Improve Farm Sustainability more than double their reach
Swiss Syngenta on March 27, 2017 highlighted results for the third year of The Good Growth Plan, which comprises six ambitious commitments for 2020 to support the sustainability of agriculture and the development of rural communities
– More than 9 million hectares of farmland enhanced by biodiversity and soil conservation initiatives
– Data collected from 3700 farms in 42 countries
– Reference farms continue to outperform benchmark
– Smallholder farmer productivity increased by 8 %
In 2016, Syngenta projects enhanced biodiversity and soil conservation on a cumulative 9.2 million hectares of land, creating rich, connected wildlife habitats in 34 countries. Together, these soil and biodiversity programs cover an area close to the size of Portugal. A key contribution came from the Soja+Verde project in Brazil, where we are working in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on the restoration of rainforest in agricultural landscapes.
To assess our progress on crop productivity, we collected data from 3,700 farms in 42 countries. This shows that the productivity and resource efficiency of those Reference farms which use our protocols were nearly 4 % higher than the Benchmark farms.
In addition, we reached over 16.5 million smallholders with those participating in our Reference Farms benefiting from an 8 % productivity increase. This demonstrates the potential of technology and agronomic training to not only help small holders to feed themselves and their families but also improve their livelihoods. We remain confident of achieving our target of reaching 20 million smallholders by 2020.
Over the past year, we have also trained nearly 7 million people in the safe use of our products, bringing the cumulative total to over 17 million farmers since the plan started – 70 %of which are smallholders in developing countries. And we continued to expand our Fair Labour Programme which now covers all our seeds suppliers in Latin America and Asia Pacific.
Syngenta Chief Executive Officer, Erik Fyrwald, said: “The Good Growth Plan exemplifies the way we do business and, through the data that is now being generated, we are helping farmers to apply best practices and monitor the benefits to the environment and their bottom line. Going forward, we want to evolve the plan further to better understand how farmers can improve the efficiency with which they use water and reduce their carbon emissions. And by continuing to partner with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders in the food value chain, we will be better able to combine the resources and knowledge required to safely feed the world and take care of our planet”.
Six commitments: 2016 reporting update
1. Make crops more efficient: Increase average productivity of the world’s major crops by 20 percent without using more land, water or inputs.
In 2016, Syngenta worked with a global network of more than 1,000 Reference farms and – for comparison purposes – almost 2700 Benchmark farms, grouped in clusters of similar agro-climatic conditions and grower characteristics. The Reference farms have adopted tailored crop protocols and have increased productivity by a global average of 1.2 % against baseline data. This was 3.8 percentage points higher than Benchmark farms.
2. Rescue more farmland: Improve the fertility of 10 million hectares of farmland on the brink of degradation.
In 2016, Syngenta programs improved soil quality on over 1.9 million hectares. On a cumulative basis, we have reached around 40 percent of the 2020 target. The increase in 2016 was due mainly to better integration of soil management practices into commercial offers.
3. Help biodiversity flourish: Enhance biodiversity on 5 million hectares of farmland.
In 2016, biodiversity was enhanced on 3.3 million hectares of agricultural landscape in 34 countries. We have developed a new methodology for assessing environmental and socioeconomic impacts of biodiversity interventions in agricultural landscapes, and are working with the conservation community to highlight the importance of landscape connectivity to policymakers.
4. Empower smallholders: Reach 20 million smallholders and enable them to increase productivity by 50 %.
Syngenta has reached 16.6 million smallholders through sales and is measuring their increase in productivity on smallholder Reference farms. In 2016, productivity on these Reference farms increased by 8 %.
5. Help people stay safe: Train 20 million farm workers on labour safety, especially in developing countries.
In 2016, Syngenta and its partners trained 6.8 million people in better and safer farming. We have expanded our partnership with the NGO Solidaridad to train farmers in agronomy and safety around the world. With the Sustainable Food Lab, we are looking into measuring the impact of our business on smallholder livelihoods in order to optimize our way of working with smallholders.
6. Look after every worker: Strive for fair labour conditions throughout our entire supply chain network.
In 2016, Syngenta’s Fair Labour Programme covered 82 % of Syngenta seed supply farms globally, including all our seed suppliers in Latin America and Asia Pacific. Of our commercial flowers farms, 73 percent have the GLOBAL G.A.P. certification, and 24 % have G.R.A.S.P. assessment. In addition, two-thirds of our chemicals suppliers were covered by our Supplier Sustainability Program.
Syngenta is a leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources. Through world class science and innovative crop solutions, our 28,000 people in over 90 countries are working to transform how crops are grown. We are committed to rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities.