Sustainable farming : solutions for farmers and consumers
VIV'AVENIR is driving VIVESCIA Agriculture forwards. This action plan features a plethora of initiatives for gaining in agility, and improving agronomic, environmental, and economical efficiency. VIV’AVENIR was created for farmers. We can only make it a success with them. The cooperative spirit compels us to work together on several areas simultaneously!
How does VIVESCIA Agriculture define sustainable agriculture?
For VIVESCIA, sustainable agriculture needs first and foremost to be sustainable for farmers: it must allow them to make a living from their farms, and provide visibility on their future income. Sustainability is also important to us because we need our customers to recognise VIVESCIA as a sustainable and responsible supplier. And obviously, the farming techniques used in sustainable agriculture also respect natural resources and the land to bring consumers safe, high-quality food every day. These methods offer three major advantages: they protect the soil, which is a farmer’s most valuable asset; they derive value from the farmers’ expertise; and they rebuild the confidence of citizens and consumers.
Sustainable agriculture is a progressive approach. What is VIVESCIA doing to advance this "progress" and to help farmers move forward?
We are investing, we are making proposals, and we are changing to help farmers prepare for the future, with a better understanding of their needs because each farm is different. And the farms of tomorrow will be even more diverse. No one must be left behind. That is the meaning of our VIV'AVENIR project. Sustainable farming is the common thread that runs through all the commitments we have made as part of this action plan: Evolution of farming practices, logistics, services, and relationships with farmers and our food processing customers. The challenge is to offer targeted, customised, and increasingly digital solutions.
At VIVESCIA, when we talk about sustainable farming, we mean the economic, environmental, climate, and societal aspects…
Everything is connected. Everything we do as part of VIV'AVENIR is to add value at every stage of the farming business. And as we operate at every link in the grain value chain, we are trying to make improvements wherever we can: Agronomy, logistics, creation of sustainable supply agreements with food industry players, customised solutions and digital services for our members… These are the various, different but interdependent ways we can support sustainable farming.
Farmers are going through a difficult period. In a context like this, isn't sustainable farming a luxury?
Sustainable farming, as we see it, is not synonymous with increased production costs. On the contrary! Our aim is to reduce costs but also to add value at every step in the grain supply chain, to boost farmers' income, and to ensure they are still around tomorrow. This approach implies above all changing how they work in the field, growing differently and, in some cases, investment. Investment in on-farm storage areas, for example, which provide an additional source of income as well as increasing the farm’s value.
So sustainable farming isn't just a "fad"?
Not for VIVESCIA! Sustainable farming is how we guarantee the future of farming activities. This long-term future is dependent on the farms' profitability and to what extent these activities are acceptable to the general public. Sustainable farming isn't a rhetorical trick in response to criticisms of the farming world. People often point the finger at farmers nowadays. This is unfair, and betrays an ignorance of history and the progress accomplished by science.
An ignorance of history and the progress accomplished by science… Could you elaborate?
After World War II, when farmers were asked to produce enough to feed the country, they did their duty. For years, the technical and chemical solutions provided allowed us to increase yields and meet demand. But over the last few years, for both environmental and economic reasons, French farmers have had to challenge these models and become experts in precision farming: Using better techniques with exactly the right dose at the right time – growing more with less – thereby preserving soil quality and biodiversity in the countryside.
This is precisely VIVESCIA's mission: to support farmers as they develop their farms and help them improve their economic, societal and environmental performance. We didn't wait for sustainable farming to be "fashionable" to do this. "Sustainability" is in our cooperative DNA.