Brazil has the size and strength – agriculturally and economically – to make an impact on society: environmentally, not least through helping to reduce global warming; socially, by continuing to increase agriculture’s output to improve food security, locally and globally.
Brazil already contributes considerably to food security by being self-sufficient and producing surpluses for export. Also, the country’s farming community has taken great strides to improve its environmental footprint, particularly in reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases causing climate change – although a lot still remains to be done.
”We collaborate in fields of vital importance to humankind.”
Jørgen Ole Haslestad CEO, Yara
"Brazilian agriculture, like every agriculture in the world, has a negative impact, which is the use of natural resources," states Dr. José Carlos Polidoro at the research institution Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa). “That is normal.” The researcher adds that Brazil wants to show that the country is working to reach minimal environmental impact from agriculture; stating: "That is possible". The cooperation with Yara on the use of nitrogen fertilizer is a case in point, aiming to cut emission of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. "We are studying how we can lower the emission of this gas, starting from treatments, all managements options, and sources of fertilizer."
The key to improving the environmental impact of agriculture is to raise productivity, and to reduce the pressure on land use change – the conversion of land and forests into farmland. Improving productivity is mainly an issue of adopting modern technologies such as precision farming, assuring the optimum use of inputs, notably fertilizers and water – to increase resource use efficiency.
In order to end world hunger, Newton Matsumoto argues, productivity, including that of water, has to improve. Matsumoto is a fertigation consultant as well as a grape grower, and himself a user of Yara’s calcium nitrate products for fertigation - the combination of irrigation and fertilization. According to Matsumoto, the greatest advantage of fertigation is the direct nurturing of the root system, achieving higher agronomic efficiency. “Once we have technology and irrigation, we are able to produce more in increasingly smaller areas,” he says.
Yara has driven innovation within agricultural productivity, developing products and solutions, including low-carbon fertilizer and technology tools, to help farmers increase their productivity while reducing environmental footprints. The N-Sensor is one such tool. Mounted on a tractor, it allows farmers to measure the crop’s nitrogen requirement on the move, and apply the right amount of fertilizer.
José Paulo Molin, Associate Professor at the Universidade de São Paulo, works on precision farming, focusing on soil and sensors. “Due to the use of crop sensors, we approached Yara and started a joint project on sugarcane,” says Dr. Molin, who cooperates with Yara’s agriculture research center Hanninghof. The project – Aquarius – aims to produce an algorithm for the nitrogen fertilization of sugarcane. Another, on cotton, is in the making.
Precision farming is adopted on an estimated 1.5 million hectares in Brazil, and the interest in and use of the N-Sensor is on the increase. In 2013 the sensor was recognized by the Brazilian soil science community, the Sociedade Brasileira de Ciência do Solo (SBCS).
Being the fertilizer market leader, and sharing its vast agronomic knowledge with Brazilian agriculture, Yara creates impact in Brazil, and helps Brazilian agriculture make a difference, locally and globally.
Says the CEO of Yara, Jørgen Ole Haslestad, himself a farmer: “We are dedicated to supporting Brazil’s continued growth in the agriculture sector. We collaborate in fields of vital importance to humankind. With Brazil and in Brazil we create value. Together, we create impact.”