Climate change: "You have to invest heavily in innovation".
Even if the world manages to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees, farmers will lose an additional 5-10 percent of their harvest on average. This is why climate change is such a serious problem for agriculture. At the same time, agriculture itself must contribute to climate protection. According to Matthias Berninger from Bayer, investments in new technologies are crucial for this.
Monday, November 8, 2021
Fertilisers are among the main sources of greenhouse gases in agriculture. Bayer is researching alternatives. But how do you make the switch? Matthias Berninger tells CNBC: "You have to invest heavily in innovation. The Haber-Bosch process is one of the most important chemical processes in human history. Thanks to it, we have traditional fertiliser. About 40 per cent of all food is based on the process. Therefore, you can't just flip the switch." But advances in genetics and biorevolution would certainly produce alternatives. Fertiliser today accounts for about 4 per cent of all CO2 emissions. So the potential for climate protection is huge here.
Vegetable producers are currently struggling. The reason for this is the lack of crop protection products . It is becoming increasingly difficult to bring saleable products onto the market. Some farmers are even reaching their limits to such an extent that they have had to stop growing certain vegetable varieties.
Fruit, berry and wine growing is increasingly threatened by pests such as the Japanese beetle, the spotted wing drosophila and the Mediterranean fruit fly. Producers are sounding the alarm – but there is a lack of pesticides that can put an end to the pests.
The high number of plant protection treatments is a major challenge for organic farmers. One of them is apple grower Marco Messerli from Kirchdorf BE. He has had to treat susceptible apple varieties with organic pesticides a total of 48 times. Too much, he thinks, and is now calling for the authorisation of new breeding methods. Experts agree with him.
A shortage of seed potatoes is looming in 2024. If there is a shortage of seed potatoes, the popular carbohydrate suppliers cannot be harvested. And because seed potatoes are in short supply throughout Europe, importing them will also be difficult. According to Swisspatat, varieties of French fries are particularly affected.