Biodiversity counts at Koppert
With the knowledge that biodiversity is key to our survival on earth, we have been working on our own definition of this essential element in nature, so that our relation to biodiversity is clear to our employees and customers. Growers around the world need to know how we contribute to biodiversity through our partnership with nature and through our collaboration with research institutes, universities, and other authorities on biodiversity.
We spoke to Koppert’s biodiversity specialist, Dr Eveline Stilma, about the importance of biodiversity to Koppert.
How does Koppert benefit biodiversity?
Research conducted both internally and externally shows that Koppert’s products benefit biodiversity on two levels. Put simply, the introduction of beneficial macro- and microorganisms for agricultural purposes directly contributes to biodiversity. When growers introduce natural organisms into their fields and greenhouses as a way of controlling pests and diseases, this practice follows natural processes as opposed to intervention through conventional chemical agents. By using Koppert’s biological solutions, growers increase the species’ diversity, activating natural functions that result in a healthy crop.
Secondly, there is a strong indirect benefit. As soon as growers start to use biological control for their crops and improve their agro-ecosystems, they decrease their dependence on fertilizers and pesticides. This directly benefits the natural biodiversity in ecosystems surrounding farms, their field borders, hedges and ponds. Using Koppert’s products makes growers actively aware of natural processes, accentuating the role biodiversity plays in everyday growing practices. A win-win situation for the grower and the natural environment.
A healthy plant grown in an environment with a healthy biodiversity, results in a resilient cropping system. A resilient crop is stable and friendly to nature because less nitrogen and pesticides are being used so indigenous pollinators and natural enemies can do their work in the crop. Both growers and the environment win!
Why is biodiversity so important to Koppert?
Modern agriculture has a great impact on biodiversity and its decline. Our work brings us daily evidence of how conventional production methods have contributed to this decline. Changing the world’s agricultural practices is key to bringing back our biodiversity. It is this indisputable knowledge that has led us to accept our responsibility for producing and promoting biological solutions that are based on nature. We accept our role in researching and producing products that allow growers to make the transition to agricultural practices that are beneficial to both crops and biodiversity.
Working with natural solutions for the soil, we provide biostimulants that activate fungai growth promoting healthy roots, better quality plants and higher yields. This growing practice is friendly to natural pollinators too, improving pollination and fruit set. The growers’ business model is improved with biodiversity.
At Koppert we need a rich pool of genetic varieties to explore, research and find biological solutions to a multitude of pests and diseases. A decrease of 40% in the biodiversity of insects in our world directly affects our potential for finding natural solutions to a growing number of harmful insects and diseases in both agriculture and horticulture. We have a very real and direct interest in promoting biodiversity so that it can continue to provide growers with a growing range of biological solutions from nature itself.
We cannot do it alone
There is strength in numbers and knowledge, and we collaborate with a growing number of research institutes and other authorities from around the world. One glowing example is the joint project currently being realized by the Community of Practice Biodiversity of Greenport West-Holland in which Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands, Wageningen University and Research, Koppert and associated companies, and growers participate.
While the authorities have the mandate to improve biodiversity in public areas and production, they need the knowledge and expertise of organizations that are working together within Greenport West-Holland to realize their targets. Research institutes are now gathering knowledge about the effect that biodiversity around greenhouses has on pest control, and are working towards resilient crops in a resilient cropping system.
These organizations work together with the Community of Practice at Greenport West-Holland to enhance biodiversity around greenhouses, researching plant species that attract natural enemies so that growers can adopt nature-inclusive practices. The result will be a resilient crop that is less dependent on chemical agents. Together with Greenport West-Holland and the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), Koppert hopes to play a prominent role in the transition towards nature-inclusive horticulture and agriculture.