The circular economy: more than just a trend, a reality for Chilean agriculture

The agri-food sector faces the challenge of increasing its productivity in a sustainable way to feed a growing population, make efficient use of natural resources and contribute positively to the environment and society. In addition, it must respond to the most demanding consumers who are interested in products that are produced and processed in a sustainable way. See the full article here

The circular economy (CE) emerges as a tool that can help meet challenges, defining itself as a system that seeks to maximize the usefulness and value of products, components and raw materials at all times. The concept was developed with the aim of promoting a planet that does not produce any waste and, on the contrary, builds a virtuous cycle, where natural and material resources are not depleted, but are recycled, valued and reused in order to improve their benefit and reduce system risks.

In simple words, it is a model of design, production and consumption that seeks to ensure that resources continue to generate value and reduce waste.
The European Commission model builds economic, environmental and social capital. From an environmental point of view, better use of resources means less pressure on the environment, which significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. In economic terms, there are savings due to efficiency in the use of inputs, as well as new income due to valuation of new products (energy, new food); Finally, from a social point of view, it generates new jobs and greater wealth.

CD Diagnostics in Agriculture

the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture via Basuand, in collaboration with the University of California, Davis, they analyzed international experiences and initiatives being developed in Chile, with the aim of looking for opportunities and challenges. In addition, it is about creating a space for collaborative discussion and suggestions as a point
The starting point for moving forward.

The study does a background check, supplemented by interviews with experts and workshops with members of the public and private commission, and achieves two very important findings:

(i) Organize information related to citizenship education in the national and international agri-food sector,

(2) Initiation of the process of forming a network of actors to continue the work.

An analysis of experiences in 12 countries, including Portugal, France, Germany, Uruguay, Canada, China and New Zealand, allowed the perception that the transition to CE should be a gradual process and require commitment from various sectors to build a common agenda.

In addition, it has allowed us to appreciate the attractive value of the concept, with a high capacity to come together, and view it as a very attractive value proposition in which various actors can take an active and participatory role.

Primary and secondary information from Chile identified 230 CE-related initiatives, most of which target actions at the production and processing stage of the value chain, identified at the level of all the principles of cycling:

(1) Harvest plan
resource optimization,

(2) optimization of materials
at all times and

(3) Preservation and promotion of natural capital.

In addition, he showed that the new demands of markets and the challenges of climate change have heightened interest in promoting more sustainable management.

The results are mainly located around the principle of waste revaluation (sludge and slurry for modifications, waste for power generation, recycling, among others), and the principle of minimization (input use, water efficiency, energy, agrochemicals).

For agriculture and agro-industries, CE presents the opportunity for new lines of business to emerge, which makes the use of waste and by-products more efficient, promotes soil regeneration and natural capital, and promotes regional development.

The study concludes with a proposal to develop an “Education for Education Program for the Agri-Food Sector” that allows linking key actors, identifying areas of governance and action, among others, within a few areas of work. See the full article here

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