'Save the planet,' farmers urged
AGRAme conference hears how Middle East agribusiness can help play a role in reducing global warming
Middle East farmers were today (Tuesday 31 March 2009) urged to play their part in helping solve the greatest problem faced by the world - climate change brought about by global warming.
By adopting biological methods farmers are capable of “singlehandedly saving the planet,” according to a world leader in sustainable agriculture taking part in a series of seminars at AGRA Middle East, the region’s leading agricultural exhibition at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Modern agriculture is responsible for 25% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, 60% of the methane gas and 80% of nitrous oxide – the “greenhouse gases” in the upper atmosphere blamed for increasing global warming – said Graeme Sait, CEO of Nutri-Tech Solutions, an Australian company which produces a range of biological products for farmers.
“Agriculture can provide half of the greenhouse gas reductions necessary to stabilise our climate,” he added. In the case of carbon dioxide, it could be achieved by including a carbon source with every fertiliser; reducing and modifying soil tillage techniques; nurturing and protecting soil life; and building organic matter levels in the soil.
“Organic matter levels are, on average, less than 30% of what they were 100 years ago. We’ve dropped from an average of 5% organic matter to an average of 1.5%. When 1% of organic matter per hectare is oxidised, due to improper tillage and overuse of carbon-free fertilisers, then 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare is released.
“It’s been estimated that a 1% increase in organic matter in US crop lands alone would take 4.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and return it to the soil.” Sait added: “Arguably, farmers are capable of singlehandedly saving the planet.”
New farming technologies and products are being outlined in a series of free seminars at AGRAme which closes on 1 April 2009. This year’s exhibition is complemented by Vet Middle East focusing on veterinary products and services. VETme brings together veterinary practitioners and public health officials with manufacturers and suppliers of products and services from pharmaceuticals to food supplements as well as the latest technological advances in veterinary healthcare.