SADER to Reduce Recurring Burning of Agricultural Land
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) wants to reduce the recurring burning of agricultural land by 40 percent by 2024. Approximately, 30 to 40 percent of forest fires are caused by unintended agricultural burning that puts the lives of producers at risk, damage ecosystems and degrades soils, which translates into erosion and lower crop yields.
According to the UN, many farmers consider agricultural burning to be the most efficient and cost-effective way to clear, fertilize and prepare land for new planting. The problem is that these burnings often lead to forest fires and are the largest source of black carbon in the world, a threat to both human and environmental health. Given the damage they represent for producers and ecosystems, the Mexican government launched the "#MiParcelaNoSeQuema" campaign, which stands for “my plot does not burn.” The campaign seeks to promote the use of sustainable alternatives that reduce agricultural burning, such as waste management practices. The campaign will begin as a pilot project in the municipalities of Jiquipilas and Villa Corzo in Chiapas, Chilpancingo and Atoyac de Álvarez in Guerrero, Uruapan and Zacapu in Michoacan and Tlaxiaco in Oaxaca, according to SADER.
There are several alternatives to agricultural burning that could even be less expensive for farmers but their adoption depends on promotion given to these practices. “Burned land actually has lower fertility and higher rates of erosion, requiring farmers to over apply fertilizer. No-burn alternatives, like incorporating stubble into fields or even planting directly through the stubble, almost always save the farmer money," says Pam Pearson, Director, International Cryosphere Climate Initiative, which works with farmers globally to promote fire-free farming. The Mexican initiative will generate informative workshops for producers on the various alternatives that exist to agricultural burning, said SADER.
As previously mentioned in MBN, agri-food production is expected to reach new levels during 2022 following stronger efforts in the transparent management of resources, direct delivery of support, incentives to small and medium-scale producers and accountability. However, FAO has warned that the world is facing a triple crisis caused by a loss of biodiversity, climate change and pollution. The organization urged governments to give greater importance to sustainable practices to avoid the deterioration of Mexican soil and production.