KVM Feeding knowledge and innovation agendas

In both the Netherlands and South Africa research on soil, water and land-use is at the forefront of science. Especially integrated crop and lifestock management in relation to the climatic conditions has been focus of study.

In these studies innovative practices such as precision agriculture and conservation agriculture are seen as an option for sustainable land management and working towards a circular food system. In the light of climate mitigation, these agricultural practices are also interesting to consider. Storing carbon in soils is seen as one option to mitigate climate change. The 4 per 1000 initiative is one example of the ambition and potential of soils for carbon sequestration. Conservation agriculture is seen as one way to promote this. However, many questions remain that need to be answered to know the real potential of management options like conservation agriculture such as what type of C is needed to sustain crop growth, through wich routs and mechanisms (e.g. nutrient availability, water) do different soil C fractions stimulate crop growth?

In this study a literature review will be done on ongoing work on the potential role of conservation agriculture to improve productivity and sustainability of production through soil C, a co-benefit will be carbon sequestration for climate mitigation. Secondly, an assessment of ongoing field work that is being done in South Africa, and key stakeholders will be asked their expert opinion of the role and potential of CA in different parts of South Africa for sustainable production and climate mitigation. This will be done during a workshop. The information from the literature review and the workshop will be combined into a research agenda to be presented in a report that will be guiding towards circular sustainable agricultural production while working on climate change mitigation through soil carbon sequestration. Specific attention will be given to lacking knowledge for upscaling conservation agricultural practices.