WHY CIRCULAR AGRICULTURE?
We have started to use the concept of “circular agriculture” very frequently in order to strengthen and develop the agriculture of the country. Undoubtedly, it is necessary to consider many factors that affect agriculture and food together in order to understand to what extent this understanding is valid. However, more importantly, it is necessary to talk about the “circular economy” that gave rise to this understanding.
CIRCULAR ECONOMY, A CHAIN OF CONVERSION FROM WASTE TO SOURCE
The circular economy is based on the principle of recycling or restoring the commodity to the system with a sincere intention and design power. In the current economic order, a product entering the system always comes to the end of its life after a certain period of time and turns into waste.
The circular economy also highlights factors such as the restoration of this product, whether it will participate in the renewable energy cycle. At the same time, the life cycles of these products can be extended, their toxic values can be reduced and at a certain point it can be ensured that they turn into a benefit rather than a waste, with superior design knowledge, correct materials and production methods. This linear economy model offers us to abandon the take-use-throw concept and a chain of transformation from waste to source. The circular economy model is the most serious building block of sustainability. Sustainability is based on maintaining the ability to be continuous and protecting the environment, while maintaining diversity and productivity. We are in the period of accepting sustainability in all areas of life as a necessity for the continuity of our lives. The most important reason for this is that our limited resources in the ecosystem are decreasing with each passing day. Our land is at the top of these natural resources.
The sustainability of agriculture, which is a human activity, aims to create a balance between agricultural resources and nature. At this point, sustainable agriculture is related to the fertility, productivity, health protection and management of the soil, which is the most important pillar of nature budget.
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE, GUARANTEED FOOD SAFETY
All the food consumed by the world population of 7.7 billion today, animal and vegetable resources are obtained indirectly from the soil. Sustainable agriculture is an important issue to be taken into consideration in order to meet the increasing food need today. Sustainable agriculture; In addition to supporting the sustainable management of soil, water and natural resources, it also nurtures healthy ecosystems by ensuring food security. With the uncontrolled inputs (chemical fertilization and use of pesticides) used not only in our country but also in many parts of the world, agriculture does not cure the nutritional problem in the world, but causes soil to degrade, pollute and even disappear. It has been proven as a result of all the researches that these wrong practices in agriculture cause environmental pollution, pollution of ground water resources and chemical residues in the products grown to threaten human and animal health.
ASSURANCE OF FOOD SUPPLY, RECYCLED AGRICULTURE
Circular agriculture is a new and innovative production model at this stage, designed from scratch just like circular economy models. The triangle of agriculture, nature and food is valuable and interconnected. The only way to secure the future of the food supply is to switch to recycled agriculture. Undoubtedly, although this seems valid in theory, there will be many obstacles in the transition to practice. Because; Changing weather conditions, animal and plant diseases, unstable market economy are among the risks faced by farmers who make great efforts for production. A farmer needs a good income to continue his labor-intensive job like agriculture and pass it on to his future generations. For this reason, the current system should be based on the “ecological and production method” circular agriculture model.
PRODUCTION SHOULD BE DESIGNED BY PROTECTING NATURAL RESOURCES
The agricultural sector has now begun to bear very different roles and responsibilities in addition to the traditional roles that are usual with global developments. A holistic perspective is needed for the sustainability of agriculture. In other words, when making a decision on any issue, we need to take the world as a whole and act by considering the possible consequences of our decisions. From this point of view, everything in nature is part of the cycle. The correct combination of nature and business management will also contribute to the value of nature. Therefore, an approach that is compatible with the circular agriculture approach is “nature friendly agriculture”. This approach makes it possible to improve nature through agriculture and also to be used for agriculture. Therefore, circular agriculture is actually a life cycle and it covers the whole value chain from soil to table. In the life cycle, there is production, consumption, protection and improvement of the environment. There is life at its foundation. While doing this, all cultural activities such as irrigation, fertilization and spraying in the production process should be designed by protecting natural resources.
• Are we ready to re-evaluate the medicine and fertilizer packages we use in agriculture?
• Considering the entire value chain between production and consumption, do we have the technology and knowledge to convert all products that we see as loss as a result of transportation, storage, distribution, marketing, sales back into raw materials?
• Have we been able to develop models suitable for the reproduction system, such as returning to nature, by evaluating the different usage areas of plant wastes? •
Can we reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using less fossil fuels from production to consumption?
• Do we find more environmentally friendly packaging materials in packaging and use technologies that are less harmful to nature?
• Did we raise enough awareness of consumers about food waste?
• To what extent have local governments taken steps regarding recycling? Circular agriculture; a triple hair leg in which vegetative, animal agriculture is also integrated with the generation of edible energy. Without one, when the other is not in this wheel, it cannot function correctly.
Circular agriculture is an understanding that has the individual responsibilities of many actors and is an indispensable cycle for the sustainability of life.
For this reason, an understanding based on trust, accountability and respect among all stakeholders involved in the transition to agricultural recycling is required.
By Professor Dr. Meltem Onay
15 November Cyprus University