News March 2024

How can farmers integrate green-blue measures sustainably into their operations?

A lot of policy plans push for more green-blue measures in agricultural areas. But how can farmers integrate these measures sustainably into their operations? INBO explored the possibilities in a study commissioned by the Agency for Agriculture and Sea Fisheries.

Numerous green-blue measures are possible in the agricultural area. They range from botanically valuable grasslands over fauna-focused measures and carbon-rich fertilisation on fields, to hedgerows and wood edges and canal redevelopment. These measures not only support biodiversity but also agriculture.

Using agricultural economic data, we described four recognisable example farms for Flanders. Based on the farm characteristics and landscape features, we developed for each farm a basic package and an additional package of green-blue measures. Finally, we calculated their economic impact.

We found that green-blue measures can clearly improve the operations of sub-optimal farms. It is much more difficult for highly specialised farms. This has to do with the relationship between the agricultural added value and the envisaged compensation for the green-blue measures on the one hand and the yields of the farms on the other. We thus find that the trend towards scale-up in agriculture conflicts with the policy goals of integrating more green-blue measures into the landscape.

Myriam Dumortier

Read more: Sannen K., Indeherberg M., Lauwers L. en Dumortier M. (2024). Verkenning van groenblauwe businessmodellen voor landbouwers. Rapporten van het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek 2024 (9). Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, Brussel.

(photo Mischa Indeherberg)


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