The European Parliament hosts an international workshop of the Life + Climagri project on agriculture and adaptation and mitigation of climate change

A list of ten Good Agricultural Practices proposed by Life + Climagri was presented. They include conservation agriculture techniques, better use of inputs and increase in biodiversity. Six farmers from different countries in Europe explained how they are improving their farms using these Good Management Practices.

This November the European Parliament in Brussels hosted an international workshop called "Brst Agricultural Practices: adapting and mitigating climate change and its connection with the CAP", which analyzed how good agricultural practices can help fight effectively against climate change. Therefore, the Common Agricultural Policy should encourage its implementation in the field.

The event was organized by the European Conservation Agriculture Federation (ECAF), within the framework of the LIFE + Climagri project. Besides ECAF, The Spanish Association for Conservation Agriculture-Living Soils (AEAC.SV, beneficiary entity of the project), the Andalusian Institute for Research and Training in Agriculture, Fisheries, Foods and Organic Production (IFAPA), the University of Córdoba (UCO) and the Young Farmers' Agricultural Association (ASAJA-Sevilla) took part in this event. This event could not be celebrated without two important members of the European Parliament who are particularly concerned about agricultural issues: Clara Aguilera (Vice-president of the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development) and Ivan Jakovčić (member of the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development).

During the first session of the event the Life + Climagri project was explained, which proposed a set of ten Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) in order to achieve a truly sustainable agricultural model. These Best Agricultural Practices include the application of Conservation Agriculture techniques (CA) and the implementation of actions to optimize the use of inputs and promote biodiversity. During this session, the key role that agriculture can play in mitigating climate change was highlighted and it was showed that the usage of Conservation Agriculture techniques can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and increase carbon storage in the soil by 10.4% (within the framework of the project) with respect to conventional agriculture. The system change has also resulted in decreasing CO2 emissions by up to 78% since the beginning of the project (2014). At the same time, agriculture must adapt to the inevitable changes in climate that we have already begun to suffer. Therefore, the adaptation measures offered by Climagri, such as the implementation of deficit irrigation strategies, were also analyzed during the event.

During the second session, the relevance of climate change in European policies was highlighted. In fact, it was stressed that the European Commission's proposal for the future CAP should include the point in which approximately 40% of the CAP spending target is used to mitigate and adapt to climate change through agriculture. In addition, it was stated that a change in European agriculture is a key to achieving the commitments made by the European Union in the Paris Agreement (framed in the UNFCCC), according to which Europe must reduce at least 40% of emissions by 2030 compared to 1990.

The workshop has also showed that the GAPs proposed by Life + Climagri are, in many cases, part of real agriculture and not of a utopian model. Therefore, six farmers from different European countries (Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain from the Mediterranean basin, and Germany and Denmark from other climatic environments) explained how they are working day by day and improving their farms through the implementation of the GAPs proposed by Life + Climagri.

Remember that these ten Best Agricultural Practices are the following: the maintenance of groundcovers; the minimum mechanical alteration of the soil; the establishment of crop rotations; the optimization in the use of agrochemicals; the proper handling of agrochemicals; the use of advanced technologies (decision support systems, precision agriculture, fleet management, etc.); the implementation of optimal and deficit irrigation strategies; optimized agronomic, technical and economic practices in order to improve irrigation water management; the implementation of multifunctional margins and retention structures; measures to increase biodiversity.

In the last session, the positive experiences of other LIFE projects focused on sustainable agriculture and climate change were presented.