The project consists of disseminating the agroecological system to farmers and other actors in the food chain. Its aim is to engage all Walloon farmers in an agroecological transition by 2030.
Local and neutral for biodiversity crops & animal products
By 2030, 8 000 000t/y of crops and 3 500 000 t/y of animal products available on the Belgian market are locally produced with at least neutral impact on biodiversity
Current production patterns in Belgium, especially farming and agriculture, are identified as one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss. Livestock farming seriously impacts biodiversity, in Belgium (e.g. nitrogen) and abroad (e.g. feed import). One way of reducing Belgium’s dependence on importation, and thus its ecological footprint, is to enhance local production – crop and livestock farming, horticulture, fishery… Nevertheless, this might also be detrimental to biodiversity if it is done intensively, regardless of the emissions, conversion of land, impacts on biodiversity, soil, water, ecosystems and the season.
There are production practices which support the preservation of biodiversity, including soil biodiversity and fertility, the adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, land degradation neutrality and lower the ecological footprint abroad. These practices can be done at local level, thus promoting and revaluating qualitative local production with seasonal products.
Quality food belts around urban and peri-urban areas depend on a critical population that supports the demand for local seasonal products which in turn creates the demand for sustainable biodiversity-friendly agriculture. This would provide several ecological and socio-economic advantages: healthier and more qualitative products and diets, enhancing short chains, local green jobs, fair support to local producers and cheaper products as fewer intermediaries, more local seasonal production and consumption, and more open spaces for nature.
What is to be achieved?
- Sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity and its components
- Reducing detrimental impacts on biodiversity of farming and agricultural practices
- Integration of biodiversity concerns in farming and agricultural practices
- Promotion of local seasonal production and short supply chains
- Enhanced availability of local seasonal products on the Belgian market
Criteria to be reflected by the voluntary engagements:
- Follow the natural production seasons: no heated and/or large-scale greenhouses; follow natural growing/milking/breeding seasons,...
- Promote short and local supply and production chains, with as few imports as possible
- Use biodiversity-inclusive production methods: rotation of crops/fruit trees, mixed cropping, agroforestry/ecology, no pesticides or chemicals, organic/rational production, nature-based solutions, ...
- Develop the land by incorporating biodiversity and provide an area dedicated to biodiversity (e.g. additional flowerbeds, permanent plant cover, no tillage/mowing/management in specific areas, insect hotels, ...)
- Have respect for and/or improve the environmental and ecological characteristics of the area
- As much naturalness as possible/as little alteration as possible of the surrounding environment (landscape, quality of water, of soil, ...)
- Stimulate the preservation of green and blue areas by limiting the expansion of land use (e.g. rooftop agriculture, eco-grazing, ...)
- Incorporate these practices into the surrounding environment (e.g. promote ecological continuity) to reduce their negative impact on the land