Agreena ApS and the Royal Danish Embassy in Bucharest organized, on Tuesday, January 17th, at the Embassy headquarters, the event “Regenerative Agriculture for Economic Development”. The conversation centered on how sustainable agriculture practices help the climate and benefit farmers economically.
Mihaela Monica Vasile, Market Lead Agreena Romania, moderated the event. Among the invited speakers were Simon Haldrup – Co-founder & CEO of Agreena, Uffe Balslev – Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary E.S., Cristiana Lucia Constantinescu – Director of the Program Coordination Directorate – AFIR, Valeriu Tabără – Academician and President of the Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, and Aurel Badiu – Prof. Univ. Dr. Eng and vice-president of Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, together with Anca Mihaela Isac- Chief Economist at Frizon Group and Alexandru Haită, CEO of Alvalex farm.
”Agriculture is the only industry that can generate carbon emissions while having the ability to store carbon in the soil. At the same time, it can store it in the soil, making it the industry that has the potential to prevent climate change and create an entirely new source of revenue for farmers. In recent years, the EU has started to develop the legislative part of the carbon market and to find solutions for farmers and the environment”, said Mihaela Monica Vasile, Market Lead Agreena Romania.
The new Common Agricultural Policy, which started on 1 January 2023, is designed to shape the transition to a sustainable, resilient, and modern European agricultural sector. Agriculture in our country benefits from the financial support of over 15 billion euros through the National Strategic Plan, valid for the next four years. A part of these funds will be intended for regenerative agriculture, pointed out Cristiana Lucia Constantinescu, Director of the Program Coordination Department within AFIR.
“We have three new eco-schemes, two dedicated to environmental practices. One focuses on arable land practices and the other aims at practicing smallholder agriculture. We have tried to offer farmers new possibilities that can contribute to achieving the goals of sustainable agriculture in the long term. Farmers must apply this technology on an area of at least 50% of the cultivated area, and here we are talking about farms with more than 10 hectares. Another specific condition of this eco-scheme is the diversification of crops from arable land or the planting of at least two trees per year per farm“, added Cristiana Lucia Constantinescu.
Another solution for farmers who want to maintain profitability on the farm and balance the losses caused by the challenging economic context and climate changes is soil carbon certification systems, such as AgreenaCarbon.
“Farmers are the heroes of climate change. Ambition and will are needed on their part, but also economic support. One-third of the global land is arable land. However, there are some challenges to making the big step from traditional agriculture to regenerative. Farmers need financial support and access to the latest scientific research and standards. We have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us – to transition agriculture to meet the demand for food supplies for a growing population while impacting the climate through regenerative agriculture“, said Simon Haldrup, Co-Founder & CEO of Agreena, at the event.
The AgreenaCarbon platform helps farmers cover the costs of transitioning to regenerative practices. The opinion of one of the participating farmers, Alexandru Haită – SC Alvalex SRL, Călinești, Teleorman county, mentioned that the transition to sustainable agricultural practices could be a solution to adapt to climate change.
“I started studying regenerative agriculture back in 2009. In 2018 we had the opportunity to implement a transition plan from classic to conservative agriculture on the type of soil on the farm. Our farm location has difficult terrain, 40% clay, and excess moisture. Farmers must adapt to climate change, so we must take advantage of the economic opportunities. Shortly, when the EU reaches the area where we will approach that CO2 per total industry, carbon certificates will have a much greater weight“, explained Alexandru Haită.
AgreenaCarbon uses a mixed-methodology approach that is highly applicable to smaller-scale farmers. It couples five years of ground-truth data with an IPCC-aligned GHG farm model developed by top-tier universities overlaid with soil and climatic data inputs.
“We know that farmers are also entrepreneurs. They are the ones who decide what fields enter the program and what practices they adopt. That is precisely why we offer them flexibility in decision-making to make the transition at their own pace. Finally, we give farmers control over the certificates: they can keep them for their use – they can sell them, or they can use the Agreena network to sell them for them“, said Simon Haldrup, CEO and co-founder of the certification company soil carbon, Agreena.
Agreena aims to scale its activity in Romania, where it manages 10% of the total hectares managed at the European level, and to support Romanian farmers in transitioning to regenerative agriculture to reduce interventions at the soil level.