The global, continuous and pervasive impact of climate change threatens our creaking food system in which harvests are already lagging behind rising demand. Several studies have shown that global crop production needs to double by 2050 to meet the projected demands from rising population, diet shifts, and increasing biofuels consumption. A sustainable supply of food hinges on agricultural innovation, but current investments neglect a key area for improving yields, that is the support and investment in farmer led research and development (R&D) and disruptive technology.
EDL is an innovative technology company that holds international patents and unique intellectual property to build and service, through expert third party manufacturers, fast process engineering machines that create a significant income stream for abattoirs and companies that have to manage organic waste, by recovering valuable food extracts and creating a highly desirable organic phosphate rich fertiliser for crop and soil enhancement whilst simultaneously delivering significant environmental benefits.
Since the 1970s, agricultural R&D has primarily invested in a small number of research institutes equipped with cutting-edge instruments. For example, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, one of 7 Research Councils that work together as Research Councils UK (RCUK) and funded by the Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is responsible for much of the public research spending in food security in the United Kingdom. It has an annual budget of £467 million in total and invested 27% of its 2010–11 budget in just three institutes. Multinational seed and agrochemical companies also invest billions of dollars annually to develop products in hopes that they will be used by millions of farmers.
This one-size-fits-all approach has had qualified success. In a 2011 analysis, average global crop yields were shown to have increased by 56% between 1965 and 1985, and by 20% from 1985 to 2005, but this gain was underpinned by increasing inputs of non-renewable resources, with extensive environmental risk and increasing costs.
But advances are slowing. According to a 2013 study, yields have plateaued in some of the world’s most important food-producing regions, including east Asia (for rice) and northwest Europe (for wheat). In some countries, yields have declined. One of the primary nutrients needed to sustain plant and animal health is also facing a worrying and fast decline it its availability, access to phosphorus (economic scarcity) is and will increasingly become critical, in particular for smallholders farmers in different parts of the world.
Agricultural R&D is one of the most effective types of investment for preventing food crises, promoting economic growth and reducing poverty.
The next wave of innovation must now be at smaller scales. Every farmer knows that what one farmer can do to boost yield or efficiency is not necessarily the same as for a farmer hundreds of kilometres away with different soil, nutrient content, microclimate, topology and methods. Ultimately how well crops and livestock grow depends on the interaction of genes, management and environment. As weather patterns fluctuate, gains in production will depend ever more on innovating in context. This is where the innovative and disruptive technology developed by Elemental Digest is able to bring a unique and valuable solution. Through the recovery from organic materials of essential minerals including phosphates and the reconstitution into slow release fertiliser, customisable and local, a previously negative cost to abattoirs
Farmers everywhere are practical experimentalists who understand the idiosyncrasies of their land. Modern agronomy evolved out of practices such as rotating crops to rebuild soil nutrients, fertilising fields with manure, and adding lime to soil to alter pH. These old well established beneficial practices are brought into a contemporary setting, through the utilisation of Elemental Digest Systems machinery, offering numerous soil, bio hazard, environmental and crop benefits.
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