Sustainability and Productivity

Sustainability and productivity are the indicators of the efficiency of the use of natural and anthropic resources of a farm. The evaluation of efficiency is based on the accounting of production both in terms of consumption and in terms of the inputs / outputs.
How to produce more for new needs by limiting the impact on the environment? The methodological approach of the future must aim at the balance of resources through careful planning of consumption.

Goal 2
End hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Target 2.3
Double the agricultural productivity and income of small-scale food producers, particularly women, indigenous peoples, farming families, shepherds and fishermen, including through secure and equitable access to land, other resources and productive inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for added value and non-agricultural occupations
Target 2.4
Ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, which help protect ecosystems, strengthen capacity to adapt to climate change, extreme weather conditions, droughts, floods and other disasters and improve progressively soil quality

Goal 12
Guaranteeing sustainable production and consumption patterns
Target 12.2
Achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resource
Target 12.4
Achieve eco-compatible management of chemicals and all waste throughout their entire life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release into the air, water and soil to minimize their negative impact on human health and the environment
Target 12.5
Substantially reduce waste production through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse

Goal 15
Protect, restore and promote a sustainable use of the terrestrial ecosystem
Target 15.3
Combat desertification, restore degraded lands, including those affected by desertification, droughts and floods, and strive for a world without soil degradation
Target 15.4
Ensuring the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to improve their ability to produce essential benefits for sustainable development

Action 4

Planning and design of sustainable agri-environmental systems

The design of production methods lays down the basic principles that govern the entire production process of agricultural systems.

The design of the production methods identifies the main agronomic phases that make up a production process, describing its basic purposes and the methods for achieving them that respect the environment and human, animal and plant health.

In particular, in the agronomic design phase, we examine the different types of soil processing, its fertilization, some good agricultural practices and the cultivation processes. The aim is to identify, through the phases of the whole process, which behaviors can contribute to a socially responsible agriculture.

The design of the soil processing serves to make the soil more porous and softer, to encourage plant growth and crop productivity. Through processing the soil is prepared for sowing, thus creating the conditions suitable for the burial and germination of the seeds and the penetration of the roots; the permeability of the soil is increased by favoring the infiltration of water and reducing phenomena of stagnation and erosion; the existing vegetation is eliminated and weeds are contained; the fertilizers are buried to nourish the soil.

In any case, when designing the production method it is necessary to bear in mind that there are different types of soil, therefore the choice of the method and the respective soil processing techniques is essential for the evaluation of the properties and characteristics of the soil to be cultivated and of the plant species that this must accept, of the risks of erosion and from the climatic conditions of the cultivation area. In general, deep machining with machines and tools that cause excessive burial of the active layer and damage the soil structure (compaction, pulverization, etc.) are to be avoided.

Maintaining the fertility of the soil remains a priority objective in the design of production methods: the plants derive the correct nutritional supply from the soil, consequently the more fertile the soil is, the more yields will be better and of high quality.

The alternative to soil fertilization with synthetic chemical substances consists in the use of natural mineral fertilizers and in organic fertilization.

Even appropriate cultivation techniques, such as rotation and green manure, fertilization with natural or organic fertilizers are more sustainable.

Precision farming is a technologically advanced form of agriculture, in which machinery is used that is equipped with “intelligent systems”, able to dose the production factors in relation to the real needs of the plot and to the different homogeneous areas within it.

This technique can be aimed at increasing productivity with the same overall inputs; to reduce inputs for the same productivity or to increase productivity while reducing inputs.

The technological progress achieved in terms of automation, management and processing of spatial data makes precision agriculture already potentially feasible from the farm, at least from a technical point of view.

However, the application of this innovative approach requires a thorough knowledge of the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the fields, their mapping and storage, so that they can then be managed by a control computer.

Activable Pilot Projects

Pilot Projects can concern one or more targets of the objectives identified as well as one or more general indicators. For the purposes of verification and measurability and related accounting in the definition of the executive design, specific indicators will be identified among those defined in the Global Indicator Framework 2019 of the SDG.

The pilot projects that can be activated in Action D.4 are the following:

• Intelligent water systems

• Digital infrastructure to support production

• Methods for rationalizing production

• Implementation of agricultural waste recovery and recycling systems.