Breaking paradigms to harvest more

We made a lot of mistakes in the past; we throw geniuses at the bonfire, christians to hungry lions. We condemn sages to drink poison and the most enlightened of all to die on the cross.

History is full of mistakes and making mistakes is inherent to the human condition. Today, of course, we continue to make mistakes.

However, when we dare to overturn old paradigms, the reaction is almost always violent and irrational. Resistance to change is one of the mysteries of our society.

But, when the desire to get it right is stronger than the attachment to the old paradigms, we manage to get to a better place than where we were.

A little more than four decades ago, we started to develop a suitable agriculture for tropical countries: the No-Tillage System, derived from the American “No Till”. In addition to retiring the plow and harrow, the system proposes a large production of biomass (straw) to cover the soil.

It worked for quite a while.

We increased productivity, and together, chemical fertilization and pesticides. This excess of aggressive substances began to kill microbial communities and soil life as a whole.

The questions became:

  • Who's going to turn all that straw into organic matter? How will all this carbon be reincorporated into the soil?
  • How much of aggressive substances can we tolerate in our soils, rivers and in our food?

If the limit is greed, then we can say that there is no limit!

Picture from Alexandr Podvalny in Unsplash

The Bioactive Production Systems propose a large population of microorganisms to feed on the vegetable biomass produced. As big as it was before the attacks. Or as big as it needs to be, in the case of soils that were originally very poor and that we need to produce.

For that, we must recreate the conditions conducive to the development of life in the soil. In this sense, we can consider Bioactivation as phase two of No-Tillage. Because straw without microorganisms doesn't turn into organic matter and doesn't fix carbon in the soil.

The vast majority of information on brazilian agribusiness, available for reading in books or articles, concerns numbers and addresses the topic in an isolated, superficial or alienated way.

This was one of the facts that encouraged me to start this project. I made a point of taking a very different path, leaving the commonplace. The findings and considerations I make here are the result of observation, study, practice, conversations and meditations.

I want to offer you a critical, independent posture based on more than thirty years of experience in agribusiness.

When reading our texts, I am sure that you will take a qualitative leap in the perception of your business, agribusiness and food in general.

If you are part of, or interested in, agribusiness today, I strongly recommend that you subscribe to our newsletters and receive independent, high-quality information.

Let's move forward! We will inspire you, towards a more profitable, sustainable and ethical model of producing food in tropical lands!

Antonio N. S. Teixeira

Executive Director - IBA

 

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