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The Blueprint

Growing for Tomorrow: Regenerative Agriculture

Growing for Tomorrow: Regenerative Agriculture

  • Within 50 years, the world could run out of soil to feed global populations due to erosion, excessive tillage, and over-reliance on fertilisers
  • We need better farming practices: Regenerative agriculture can improve soil health, decrease fertiliser use and produce more food and nutrition

We need soil to grow our food. However, current farming practices are leading to erosion and land degradation – linked to losses of US$400 billion per year. To compensate for losing important nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, more fertiliser is applied to boost yields. However, excess fertiliser can enter aquatic bodies through soil erosion and runoff, causing algal blooms.


Photo source: Groundswell

Practices such as regenerative agriculture aim to build healthy, fertile soil on farmed lands. This involves using minimal inputs, cultivating two or more crop types on the same field, and planting crops specialised in managing soil erosion. Focusing on soil health and storing carbon could provide additional revenue streams, and incentivise firms to move away from traditional mono-culture production methods. In addition, better stability means that excess nutrients are less likely to escape into water bodies. This could help companies save costs on fertiliser and shifting operations to new lands, all while maintaining soil yields.

We cannot solve the global food production challenge by relying on existing practices. At present, regenerative agriculture has been implemented for rice plantations and oil palm farms. Southeast Asia is a leading agricultural exporter – providing 90% of global rice production and 85% of global oil palm production. However, the resources making the region agronomically viable are slowly being depleted as Southeast Asia observes declining soil fertility, water scarcity, and biodiversity loss. Meanwhile, it is estimated that the world will need land half the size of China to meet food demand by 2050. By embracing the principles outlined in the 2030 ASEAN Action Plan, Southeast Asia can close this gap and unlock the potential for sustainable growth, innovation, and impact in the food, agriculture, and forestry sectors.

Looking forward

In our environmental analysis, we reinforce actions by companies contributing towards the sustainable transformation of the food system e.g. supporting biodiversity recovery, boosting soil health, and curbing pollution. By incorporating these criteria into our investment decisions, we increase momentum toward achieving global biodiversity targets. For instance, reducing pressure on ecosystems from erosion and fertiliser pollution contributes to overall biodiversity recovery under Target 2 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

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