When Mexican maize farmer Diego Gil increases his yield and profitability by 25 percent, he is also saving the environment.
There is probably no other crop so strongly associated with Mexico as maize, or corn as it is commonly called in North America and many other countries. Mexican farmers were the first to cultivate maize, several thousand years ago, and today it is still the most important crop in the country. Mexico is the world’s sixth largest producer of maize.
“I consider myself a new kind of farmer, a farmer who is open to new ideas”
Diego Gil, Mexican farmer
Climate smart agriculture
However, in Mexico as in many other countries, farmers are struggling continuously to stay profitable. We tend to think about profitability as something linked to extracting or depleting resources, but in farming it is the other way around: Only by nurturing the soil can the farmer become profitable – depleting the soil will have the opposite effect.
That is why FAO defines climate smart agriculture, as farming that aims to address both food security and climate change, and one of the pillars of this is to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and growers’ income.
Growing rural communities
Yara is a member of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture. By enabling farmers to increase their yield on existing arable land, we prevent deforestation, which has a positive impact on the environment and indirectly reduces emissions.
Increased yields and farmer income also has a third benefit: It contributes to rural development. So, when Yara started working with Mexican farmer Diego Gil, we started with the soil, analyzing the nutrient content. The results of this partnership between him and us have been overwhelming.
“I have increased my performance by 25 percent,” Gil says.
Which is good for him, for the environment and for his community.