The role of biostimulants in the circular economy
We’re on the precipice of an irreversible change to our climate and significant stress on Earth’s resources. Year on year storms intensify, weather patterns drastically shift, and new stressors appear that challenge us to rethink our approach to solving the world’s problems. One buzzword that has been floating around for a while is “circular economy”, but what does that mean exactly and how can it contribute to a more sustainable future and support our planet and population through climate change?
As part of Rovensa Group, a global leader in BioSolutions for sustainable agriculture, Tradecorp has been exploring this for years, and has developed practices and solutions that are in line with the circular economy to reduce our negative impact on the environment.
Firstly, we should identify circular economy. According to the European Parliament, it is a “model of production and consumption that involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.”
When we think about the circular economy in practice, typically we think about car sharing, buying second-hand products or recycling bottles. While we often consider responsibly disposing of food packaging as part of the circular economy, what was inside of the packaging is often an afterthought. But food and the production of foodstuffs plays a key role in the circular economy, and it’s important that as an industry, we focus on increasing agriculture’s role in the circular economy to help ensure food security in our future, adding value to specific raw materials.
In addition to abiotic stressors such as extreme heat, extreme cold or a lack of water, crops are also facing soil erosion and loss of nutrients in soil. In the European Union, for example, 12 million hectares of land are being affected by soil erosion, reducing crop yields at an annual loss of €1.25 billion . This directly affects our food supply and global economy.
Circular agriculture is a concept that has also been around for many years and was widely practiced before modern farming became popularized, according to the UN. The more sustainable concept of circular agriculture focuses on using minimal amounts of external inputs, closing nutrients loops, regenerating soils, and minimizing the impact on the environment . When practiced on a wide scale, circular agriculture can reduce resource requirements and the ecological footprint of agriculture.
Biostimulants play a specific role in this process in a variety of ways. Firstly, they can be developed in line with the circular economy. This means creating them in a way that extends the product lifetime and doesn’t produce waste. Secondly, biostimulants help plants to unlock nutrients from the soil and both support resistance to and repair from abiotic stresses, promoting soil health and regeneration. This helps growers to see greater yield, quality, and fruit size of their crops – both in greenhouses and on the field, as well as meet consumer demands in terms of sustainability. Thirdly, the use of biostimulants reduces the need for chemical pesticides and increases the efficiency of fertilizers.
Over the last four years, our sales of registered organic products have doubled, while those of circular economy products have increased by 83%. This shows promise for the future of circular economy products in agriculture, leading us to increase our portfolio of circular economy related products by 35% over four years. By promoting the use of high-quality and efficient biostimulants in crop production, Tradecorp promotes a more balanced and sustainable agriculture that aims to feed the planet through healthy and safe solutions.