Cereals constitute staple food for a majority of countries and their people worldwide. According to FAO, cereals represent about 50% of total calories available for human consumption - almost 40% in developed countries and 60% in developing countries. Cereals production and consumption have expanded enormously in the past three decades, paralleling the growth in the world's population. Their world harvest almost doubled between 1968 and 1998, from 1161 to 2054 million ton. In 2004 the world production was over 2,2 billion ton. This increase was notably due to a combination of improved grain varieties as well as a greater fertiliser and pesticide use and irrigation.
Vegetable crops, including root and tuber crops, are the second most important group of crops produced worldwide. Their global production exceeds 1 billion ton every year. "Root and tuber crops" correspond to a wide cross-section of subterranean storage organs such as root, tuber, rhizome, corm and bulb crops. Root and vegetable production has quite kept pace with population growth in the last decades. Today more than ever, the production systems around the world raise a number of economic, social and environmental concerns.
SAI Platform's Working Group Arable and Vegetable Crops aims to contribute to meeting this challenge by developing sustainable agricultural practices that allow for the productive, competitive and efficient production of potatoes and vegetables while at the same time protecting and improving the natural environment and social/economic conditions of local communities. In 2009, the Working Group issued Principles and Practices for the Sustainable Production of Arable Crops.
In 2010-2011, the group developed a stakeholder engagement model for regional implementation, which was supported by GlobalG.A.P.
In 2012, the Working Group assigned Andersons Easterns’ Jay Wootton to develop and make a farmers tool to understand the relation of financial performance and overall farm sustainability. The final tool is the key for a better educated conversation and learning between farmers and their customers. It allocates the cost of production for a particular crop to its revenues. By doing this the direct impacts per crop of energy use for a tractor, the fertilizers, the crop protection but also labor and land costs become visible and hence manageable. But there is even more: by understanding this mechanisms it also supports the healthy impact of crop rotation. It shows that lower costs have to be made for almost all inputs.
Click here to access the financial tool section.
AB Inbev, Agrarfrost, Agroterra, Aviko, Barilla, Boortmalt, CIO Parma, Coca-Cola, Farm Frites, General Mills, Heineken, Kellogg, Lamb Weston Meijer, McCain, McDonald's, Mondelez, Muntons, PepsiCo, Unilever and Yakima Chief are SAI Platform's active members of the Working Group. Haaye Boonstra, Heineken, and Richard Burkinshaw, Kellogg, are the Working Group's Co-Chairs.